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Researchers use quantum entanglement to improve differential interference contrast microscopy

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Posted February 12, 2014
Researchers use quantum entanglement to improve differential interference contrast microscopy
Illustration of (a) LCM-DIM and (b) the entanglement-enhanced microscope. The red and blue lines indicate horizontally and vertically polarized light. (c), (d) and (e) The change in the signal while the sample is scanned. Credit: arxiv.org/abs/1401.8075
A team of researchers with members from Hokkaido and Osaka Universities in Japan has used quantum entanglement of photons to improve image results created using differential interference contrast microscopy. In their paper published in Nature Communications, the team describes how they used entangled photons to enhance an image taken of an etched (to a depth of just 17 nanometers) letter “Q” on a glass plate, and how much improvement was observed.

Scientists have been using a type of microscope that relies on reading information from pairs of photons reflected off of a surface for several years. The difference between the information provided by each of the photons (the difference in phase) allows for creating an image. The result is stunningly sharp ultra-close-up images of three dimensional surfaces (such as microchips or microorganisms). Until now, however, the resolution of this type of microscopy—known as differential interference contrast microscopy—has been limited by the standard quantum limit—which is based on the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. Scientists have also known for some time that if entangled photons were used instead, they could bypass that limit and create images with better resolution. In this new effort, that’s exactly what the researchers have done.

Read more at: Phys.org

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