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Imaging through noise with quantum illumination

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Science Advances  07 Feb 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 6, eaay2652
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay2652


The contrast of an image can be degraded by the presence of background light and sensor noise. To overcome this degradation, quantum illumination protocols have been theorized that exploit the spatial correlations between photon pairs. Here, we demonstrate the first full-field imaging system using quantum illumination by an enhanced detection protocol. With our current technology, we achieve a rejection of background and stray light of up to 5.8 and also report an image contrast improvement up to a factor of 11, which is resilient to both environmental noise and transmission losses. The quantum illumination protocol differs from usual quantum schemes in that the advantage is maintained even in the presence of noise and loss. Our approach may enable laboratory-based quantum imaging to be applied to real-world applications where the suppression of background light and noise is important, such as imaging under low photon flux and quantum LIDAR.

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