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Quantum techniques lead to radar breakthrough

Quantum techniques lead to radar breakthrough

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

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Researchers in the US claim to have made a fundamental breakthrough that boosts the performance of radar systems using quantum superposition.

The researchers from Chapman University and other institutions improve the distance resolution between objects in a radar breakthrough, demonstrating range resolution more than 100 times better than the long-believed limit.

This breaks the traditional trade-off between resolution and wavelength, allowing operators to use long wavelengths and now have high spatial resolution.

This first proof-of-principle experiment opens a new area of research with many possible applications that can be disruptive to the radar industry, from driverless cars or medical sensing to industrial process technologies.

“We believe this work will open a host of new applications as well as improve existing technologies,” says John Howell, the lead researcher. “The possibility of efficient humanitarian demining or performing high-resolution, non-invasive medical sensing is very motivating,” he said.

Howell and a team of researchers from the Institute for Quantum Studies at Chapman University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the University of Rochester, the Perimeter Institute and the University of Waterloo used functions used the superposition of specially-crafted waveforms. to measure extremely small changes in the waveform to precisely predict the distance between two objects while still being robust to absorption losses.

The radar breakthough uses custom pulses to generate a new kind of superposed pulse, creating a composite wave with unique sub-wavelength features that can be used to predict the distance between the objects.

“In radio engineering, interference is a dirty word and thought of as a deleterious effect. Here, we turn this attitude on its head, and use wave interference effects to break the long-standing bound on radar ranging by orders of magnitude,” says Andrew Jordan, director of Quantum Studies at Chapman University.

“In remote radar sensing, only a small amount of the electromagnetic radiation is returned to the detector. The tailored waveforms that we designed have the important property of being self-referencing, so properties of the target can be distinguished from loss of signal.”

“We are now working to demonstrate that it is possible to not only measure the distance between two objects, but many objects or perform detailed characterization of surfaces,” said Howell.

The paper is at journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.131.053803

www.chapman.edu

 

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