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Squeezed Light Reduces Noise, Could Speed Quantum Sensing

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OAK RIDGE, Tenn., June 20, 2019 — Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) physicists studying quantum sensing, which could affect a range of potential applications from airport security scanning to gravitational wave measurements, said that certain quantum sensors can use a squeezed state of light to reduce statistical noise that occurs in ordinary light. “Quantum-enhanced microscopes are particularly exciting,” research scientist Benjamin Lawrie said. “These quantum sensors can ‘squeeze’ the uncertainty in optical measurements, reducing the uncertainty in one variable while increasing the uncertainty elsewhere.” 

Squeezed light reduces noise, ORNL.
Certain quantum sensors can use a squeezed state of light to greatly reduce statistical noise that occurs in ordinary light. Courtesy of B.J. Lawrie et al., “Quantum Sensing with Squeezed Light,”
ACS Photonics.

Squeezed light is a quantum state where the statistical noise that occurs in ordinary light is greatly reduced. Squeezed atomic force microscopes could operate hundreds of times faster than current microscopes while providing a nanoscale description of high-speed electronic interactions in materials, the ORNL researchers said. This advance could be made possible by removing a requirement in most atomic force microscopes that the microscope operate at a single frequency. Future sensing technologies that harness quantum properties could be deployed as new quantum-enabled devices or as “plug-ins” for existing sensors.

The research was published in ACS Photonics (
Jun 2019
quantum optics
The area of optics in which quantum theory is used to describe light in discrete units or "quanta" of energy known as photons. First observed by Albert Einstein's photoelectric effect, this particle description of light is the foundation for describing the transfer of energy (i.e. absorption and emission) in light matter interaction.
quantum sensingquantum opticsquantum noise reductionResearch & TechnologyeducationAmericaslight sourcessqueezed lightMicroscopyatomic force microscopySensors & DetectorsORNL

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