New Quantum Enhanced Microscope Extracts Hidden Quantum Information

Quantum Image Distillation

The total image or direct intensity image is obtained by the accumulation of light on the camera. With the technique, researchers are able to separate the quantum image of the “dead cat,” and then subtract this image to the total image to obtain the classical image of the “alive cat.” Credit: © University of Glasgow/ H. Defienne

Current super-resolution microscopes or microarray laser scanning technology are known because of their high sensitivities and very good resolutions. However, they implement high light power to study samples, samples that can be light sensitive and thus become damaged or perturbed when illuminated by these devices.

Imaging techniques that employ quantum light are becoming of major importance nowadays, since their capabilities in terms of resolution and sensitivity can surpass classical limitations and, in addition, they do not damage the sample. This is possible because quantum light is emitted in single photons and that uses the property of entanglement to reach lower light intensity regimes.

Now, even though the use of quantum light and quantum detectors has been experiencing a steady development over these last years, there are still a few caveats that need to be solved. Quantum detectors are themselves sensitive to classical noise, noise which may end up being so significant that it can reduce or even cancel out any kind of quantum advantage over the images obtained.

Thus, launched a year ago, the European project Q-MIC has gathered an international team of researchers with different expertise who have come together to develop and implement quantum imaging technologies to create a quantum-enhanced microscope that will be able to go beyond the capabilities of current microscopy technologies.

In a study recently published (October 18, 2019) in Sciences Advances, researchers Hugo Defienne and Daniele Faccio from the University of Glasgow and partners of the Q-MIC project, have reported on a new technique that uses image distillation to extract quantum information from an illuminated source that contains both quantum and classical information.

In their experiment, the researchers created a combined final image of a “dead” and “alive” cat by using two sources. They used a quantum source trigged by a laser to create entangled pairs of photons, which illuminated a crystal and passed through a filter to produce an infrared image (800nm) of a “dead cat,” or what they refer to as the “quantum cat.” In parallel, they used a classical source with an LED to produce the image of an “alive cat.” Then, with an optical setup, they superimposed both images and sent it to a special CCD camera known as an electron-multiplied charge coupled device (EMCCD).

With this setup, they were able to observe that, in principle, both sources of light have the same spectrum, average intensity, and polarisation making them indistinguishable from a single measurement of the intensity alone. But, while photons that come from the coherent classical source (the LED light) are uncorrelated, the photons that come from the quantum source (photon pairs), are correlated in position.

By using an algorithm, they were able to use these photon correlations in position to isolate the conditional image where two photons arrive at neighboring pixels on the camera and retrieve the “quantum illuminated” image alone. Consequently, the classical “alive cat” image was also retrieved after subtracting the quantum image from the direct total intensity image.

Another surprising issue from this method is that the researchers were also able to extract reliable quantum information even when the classical illumination was ten times higher. They showed that even when the high classical illumination decreased the quality of the image, they were still able to obtain a sharp image of the shape of the quantum image.

This technique opens a new pathway for quantum imaging and quantum-enhanced microscopes that aim to observe ultra-sensitive samples. In addition, the results of this study show that this technique could be of utmost importance for quantum communications. The ability to mix and extract specific information carried by both quantum and classical light could be used for encryption techniques and encoding information. In particular, it could be used to hide or encrypt information within a signal when using conventional detectors.

As Professor Daniele Faccio, comments, “This approach brings a change in the way we are able to encode and then decode information in images, which we hope will find applications in areas ranging from microscopy to covert LIDAR.”


Reference: “Quantum image distillation” by Hugo Defienne, Matthew Reichert, Jason W. Fleischer and Daniele Faccio, 18 October 2019, Science Advances.
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax0307

1 Comment on "New Quantum Enhanced Microscope Extracts Hidden Quantum Information"

  1. Those playing quantum effects are the weavers of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” and claim people who can’t see it are stupid and incompetent. Then more and more such weavers join the group of ” the intelligents” to make the group too powerful to be challenged.

    Actually, quantum mechanics is simply wrong. There is no wave function, no superposition, no entanglement in nature because it has not taken the effects of the very existence of aether into account in all its equations. Aether is a fluid which fills up the entire visible part of the universe around us and delivers all the electromagnetic forces. The existence of aether as the medium of light is a direct conclusion from the disproof of Einstein’s relativity. The fatal error of special relativity is that it equates relativistic time with physical time, which are two totally different things as shown in the following:

    Let’s look at two clocks in the framework of special relativity. If you have a clock (clock 1) with you and watch my clock (clock 2) in motion, you will see your clock time: T1 = tf1/k1 and and my clock time: T2 = tf2/k2 where t is relativistic time, f1 and f2 are the frequencies of clock 1 and clock 2 respectively observed in your inertial reference frame, k1 and k2 are calibration constants of the clocks. When these two clocks are observed by me in the moving inertial reference frame, according to special relativity, I will see T1′ = t1’f1’/k1 = (γt)(f1/γ)/k1 = tf1/k1 = T1 and T2′ = t2’f2’/k2 = (t/γ)(γf2)/k2 = tf2/k2 = T2, where γ = 1/sqrt(1-v^2/c^2). That is, no matter where you observe the two clocks, the relationship between the two clocks is always the same: if T1 > T2, then T1′ > T2′ i.e. if you see my clock go more slowly, I will also see my clock go more slowly; if T1 = T2, then T1′ = T2′ i.e. if you see the two clocks are synchronized, then I will also see they are synchronized. Yes, there are changes, but the changes are the relativistic time from t’ to t increased by a factor γ and the frequency from f’ to f decreased by the same factor γ, which cancel each other in the formula: T= tf/k to make clock time unchanged because every physical clock uses the status change of a physical process to record physical time while the status of each physical process has is determined by two factors: its progressing rate or frequency and the elapse of theoretical time in any theory. Relativists do not realize that there are two changes (time expansion and frequency decrease) happened in any moving physical clock and wrongly interpret the slowdown of its frequency as the slowdown of clock time shown on the moving clock, missing the effect of the expansion of the relativistic time of the moving frame.

    As shown above, clock time i.e. the physical time measured by the changes of the status of physical processes is absolute (i.e. invariant of Lorentz Transformation) and thus independent of the 3D physical space, totally different from relativistic time defined by Lorentz Transformation. Relativity just uses artificially defined space and time to generate artificial constant speed of light, irrelevant to the physical reality.

    As special relativity is wrong and our physical time is absolute, there can only be one inertial reference frame relative to which the speed of light is isotropic. This very inertial reference frame is the frame moving with local aether similar to the frame moving with local air relative to which the speed of sound is isotropic.

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