Quantum Imaging


     Multidisciplinary      University Research      Initiative (MURI)

     PI: Robert Boyd




            Recent advances in quantum optics and in quantum information science have opened the possibility of entirely new methods for forming optical images with unprecedented sensitivity and resolution.  This new field of research, known as quantum imaging, has led to other breakthroughs as well, such as the possibility of imaging without interaction, with enormous implications for realistic DoD problems.  We propose the formation of a research team aimed at addressing these issues and at developing new methods of image formation based on the concept of quantum imaging.  Quantum imaging implements ideas and techniques from the fields of quantum optics and nonlinear optics.  In addition, quantum imaging offers significant opportunities within the broader field of quantum information science because the parallelism intrinsic to image-bearing beams leads to increased information capacity.
            We have identified four specific imaging systems that will be developed as part of this program using quantum imaging techniques.  These systems have been selected both because of their intrinsic importance and because they are well suited for the exploitation of quantum imaging techniques. These systems are (1) Optical coherence tomography, in which we will use quantum effects to increase the axial resolution of the imaging system and to extract useful information regarding the dispersion of the material,  (2) Ghost imaging, in which one can use coincidence techniques to form images using photons that have never interacted with the object to be imaged,  (3) Laser radar, for which we will study the use of a noise-free quantum preamplifier to increase the sensitivity of detection, and (4) Lithography, where we will study the use of quantum-entangled photons to write structures at a resolution exceeding that imposed by classical diffraction theory.
            In order to achieve these goals, certain new technologies need to be developed.  Our program also involves the development of these new quantum technologies.  As part of this work, we will develop new intense sources of entangled photons based upon (1) guided-wave interactions in periodically poled materials, (2) third-order interactions in atomic vapors, and (3) on the orbital angular momentum of light beams.  We will also study means of producing high-order entanglement, both in the sense of two-photon entanglement in a large Hilbert space of pixels and in the sense of entanglement of more than two photons.  Both experimental and theoretical studies of these issues will be conducted.
            We have established a research team comprised of many of the most distinguished researchers in the field of quantum imaging.  The team consists of four experimental groups and two (smaller) theoretical groups.  In addition to its core members, our team includes several international collaborators who will interact with us as un-funded members of our team.  Management of the project will be conducted by the principal investigator operating under DoD directions and under the procedures of his university.
            This work has important implications for DoD needs. Imaging, surveillance, and characterization at the nano-scale lie at the heart of many of DoD missions, and the increased capabilities afforded by quantum imaging could significantly boost US preparedness. In addition, a key part of our program is the training of students, who represent the next generation in the defense of our nation.