Microwave quantum illumination using a digital receiver

Entangled microwaves to create the world’s first quantum radar.



“Quantum illumination is a powerful sensing technique that employs entangled signal-idler photon pairs to boost the detection efficiency of low-reflectivity objects in environments with bright thermal noise. The promised advantage over classical strategies is particularly evident at low signal powers, a feature which could make the protocol an ideal prototype for non-invasive biomedical scanning or low-power short-range radar. In this work we experimentally investigate the concept of quantum illumination at microwave frequencies. We generate entangled fields using a Josephson parametric converter to illuminate a room-temperature object at a distance of 1 meter in a free-space detection setup. We implement a digital phase conjugate receiver based on linear quadrature measurements that outperforms a symmetric classical noise radar in the same conditions despite the entanglement-breaking signal path. Starting from experimental data, we also simulate the case of perfect idler photon number detection, which results in a quantum advantage compared to the relative classical benchmark. Our results highlight the opportunities and challenges on the way towards a first room-temperature application of microwave quantum circuits.”

Find the technical paper here. MIT news summary is here.



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