Quantum ghost imaging (lighthouse project QUILT)

Remote sensing by means of entangled photons

Quantum ghost imaging setup.
© Fraunhofer IOSB, indigo
Quantum ghost imaging setup at IOSB: A special crystal (r.) generates entangled photon pairs from laser light; the visible portion is detected with spatial resolution by a silicon chip (l.).
Principle operation of Quantum Ghost Imaging
© Fraunhofer IOSB
Principle operation of Quantum Ghost Imaging

Brief description of the project

Established applications of quantum mechanics such as semiconductors, LEDs or lasers are based on collective quantum states. In the meantime, however, individual quantum states can also be specifically prepared and used. This "second quantum revolution" is also expected to bring about disruptive changes in science, economy and society. In addition to the much-discussed quantum computing, novel detection and imaging methods are also becoming possible. This is what the lighthouse project QUILT - Quantum methods for advanced imaging solutions - is all about.

Project goals

The goal of QUILT is to further develop hitherto rather academic concepts of how entangled photon pairs can be used for imaging purposes into application-oriented technology demonstrators. One such concept is quantum ghost imaging. The idea, simply put, is that if you detect one photon of an entangled pair, you learn something about the other; the two photons can have different wavelengths. At Fraunhofer IOSB in particular, the perspective goal is to realize imaging over longer distances, i.e. far beyond a laboratory bench.


Quantum ghost imaging makes it possible in principle to illuminate a scene with infrared light (which is relatively insensitive to atmospheric interference), while using the far more suitable visible range for detection in the imaging sensor. In this way, the advantages of two spectral ranges can be combined in one system to surpass classical imaging in terms of quality. 


Project partners

The scientific expertise and market knowledge of the QUILT alliance partners is complemented by the competence of world-leading quantum technology institutions such as the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Light (MPG MPL).


Optronics department

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More information

Project duration: 2017-2021

Funding body: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

With its lighthouse projects, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft sets strategic priorities in order to develop concrete solutions for the benefit of Germany as a business location. 


Quantum Imaging Publications