Experimental realization of quantum illumination

Another good news for AQM and “LiCHIS” project (FIRB 2010 – Futuro in Ricerca). A paper describing the first experimental realization of “quantum illumination”, proposed so far by S. Lloyd [Science 321, 1463–1465 (2008)], has been just published in PRL and received a comment on the journal Nature. The result has been achieved by the experimental Quantum Optics group at INRIM (L. Lopaeva, I. Ruo Berchera, I. Degiovanni, G. Brida) led by Marco Genovese and by our group at UniMi.

In brief, quantum illumination exploits quantum correlations (entanglement) in order to enhance the detection of a faint object in a high-intensity thermal background. The realization of the protocol has required not only experimental efforts, but also a thorough theoretical analysis to find the best scenario to implement the protocol taking into account the current technological resources.

The joint efforts by INRIM and UniMi have lead to a slightly different protocol with respect to the original one, but it has been proved for the first time that a quantum protocol can show clear advantages with respect to classical ones, i.e. based on classical correlations. Furthermore, it demonstrates that the common belief that the advantages of quantum technologies are hardly applicable in a real context, due to the fragility to noise and losses, is not general, thus challenging the prevalent paradigm and paving the way toward their practical application.

More details at http://prl.aps.org/abstract/PRL/v110/i15/e153603