The next wave in imagining, at least where surveillance and other practical technological applications are concerned, may owe more to theoretical physics than to traditional optics. Researchers at the University of Maryland have apparently prototyped an imaging technology that uses a phenomenon in quantum mechanics known as “quantum entanglement” to create black-and-white images of objects – even those obscured by smoke, fog, or clouds.
Reported on the sci-fi blog i09.com, the imaging technology may sound more science fiction than science fact on an initial read: two light-gathering devices, one pointed at an illumination source (i.e. the sun) and the other aimed in the direction of the subject being photographed, take independent light readings. By collating the patterns of photons detected on each sensor, a basic two-color “ghost image” can be created.
While the quantum entanglement system isn’t poised to replace traditional imaging for most uses anytime soon, applications for military and police users are clear given the technology’s ability to “see” through fog or smoke.
According to the source story from Air Force Times, “Defense manufacturer Lockheed Martin has shown interest in quantum entanglement, acquiring a U.S. patent in May to develop quantum radar that could defeat stealth aircraft and find camouflaged improvised explosive devices and mines, according to the patent.”
Read the whole story on the Air Force Times website.