Japanese physicists have built a microscope that proves that entangled photons can make more precise measurements than independent ones. Via MIT Technology Review.
One of the exciting possibilities of quantum mechanics is the ability to measure the world far more precisely than with classical tools. Today, Takafumi Ono and pals at Hokkaido University in Japan say they’ve exploited this to create the world’s first entanglement-enhanced microscope. Their new toy produces images with entangled photons that are significantly sharper than those possible with ordinary light alone.
Entanglement is the strange quantum property in which two particles share the same existence, even though they may be far apart. Ono and co say this is particularly useful for a type of imaging known as differential interference contrast microscopy.
This works by focusing two beams of photons into spots next to each other on a flat sample and measuring the interference pattern they create after they have been reflected. When both spots hit a flat part of the sample, they travel the same path length and create a corresponding interference pattern. But when the spots hit areas of different heights, the interference pattern changes.
It is then possible to work out the shape of the surface by analysing the change in the interference pattern as the spots move across it.