Quantum imaging can be useful in any application or sensor based on the measurement of light. Academics are widening the range of use of quantum light for imaging applications, reducing the inherent graininess of images caused by the discrete nature of light. This will provide new opportunities in areas such as defence and environmental monitoring. It will also have applications for medical imaging devices within ten years once the regulatory approval is acquired.

Imaging technology will be used for:

  • Tracking of particles (such as with optical tweezers or micro-rheology)
  • Optical data storage
  • Beam positioning (such as atomic force microscopy)
  • Enhanced magnetometry
  • Amplification of faint optical signals
  • Multichannel quantum communications

Imaging illustration

Key objectives

The quantum imaging activity aims to improve imaging techniques by producing types of light that are not readily found in nature. Usually the quality of imaging is limited by the quantum character of light, the fact that it is made of discrete and random photons. Using interaction with a gas of atoms, we can rearrange and order the photons inside a beam of light, effectively removing some of the quantum roughness.

When used to illuminate an object, such light will produce clearer and finer images. Potential applications could include improved imaging of small particles trapped in optical tweezers for biological application, high-density high-speed optical storage, and amplification of weak optical signals.