Experimental Microwave Quantum Illumination

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Joined Aug 27, 2009
Quantum illumination is a powerful sensing technique which employs entangled photons to boost the detection of low-reflectivity objects in environments with bright thermal noise. The promised advantage over classical strategies is particularly evident at low signal photon flux, a feature which makes the protocol an ideal prototype for non-invasive biomedical scanning or low-power short-range radar detection. In this work we experimentally demonstrate quantum illumination at microwave frequencies. We generate entangled fields using a Josephson parametric converter at millikelvin temperatures to illuminate a room-temperature object at a distance of 1 meter in a proof of principle bistatic radar setup. Using heterodyne detection and suitable data-processing at the receiver we observe an up to three times improved signal-to-noise ratio compared to the classical benchmark, the coherent-state transmitter, outperforming any classically-correlated radar source at the same signal power and bandwidth. Quantum illumination is a first room-temperature application of microwave quantum circuits demonstrating quantum supremacy in detection and sensing.
New type of radar speed gun?
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