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Cameras for Quantum Optics

Andor's product portfolio features a range of high performance detector solutions that are widely used in entangled photon studies, leading to important new capabilities in quantum optics and quantum information science. Quantum cryptography, communication and computing may soon rely on high-fidelity readouts of entangled photons.

Crucially, Andor’s unparalleled commitment to superb quality of design to deliver quantitative measurements is aimed at maximizing your throughput and to minimize the noise critical for entanglement studies.

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Applications and Techniques

Quantum Imaging Saves Schrödinger's Cat

A team of scientists form the Zeilinger group, University of Vienna, with a novel experiment using an Andor electron-multiplying CCD (EMCCD) camera, have demonstrated quantum imaging with a tangible impact for other imaging applications.

In the elegant experiment they have improved on the previous ghost imaging and interaction-free imaging approaches by both proving the occurrence of quantum imaging and demonstrating the potential for future applications of this technique.

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Single photon holography

Until quite recently, creating a hologram of a single photon was believed to be impossible due to fundamental laws of physics. However, scientists at the Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw, have successfully applied concepts of classical holography to the world of quantum phenomena.

new measurement technique has enabled them to register the first ever hologram of a single light particle, thereby shedding new light on the foundations of quantum mechanics.

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Photon-sparse Microscopy

Researchers from the Padgett group, University of Glasgow, report here on a camera-based ghost imaging system where the correlated photons have significantly different wavelengths. Infrared photons at 1550 nm wavelength illuminate the object whereas the image data are recorded from the coincidently detected, position-correlated, visible photons at a wavelength of 460 nm using a highly efficient, low-noise, Andor ICCD camera.

The efficient transfer of the image information from infrared illumination to visible detection wavelengths and the ability to count single photons allows the acquisition of an image while illuminating the object with an optical power density of only 100 pJ cm−2 s−1. This wavelength transforming ghost-imaging technique has potential for the imaging of light-sensitive specimens or where covert operation is desired. 

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Real-time Imaging of Quantum Entanglement 

Quantum entanglement occurs when two particles remain connected, even over large distances, so that actions performed on one particle have an effect on the other. Einstein described photon entanglement as "Spooky action at a distance”. The Zeilinger group, University of Vienna, have used an Andor ICCD camera to demonstrate that the detector is fast and sensitive enough to image in real-time the effect of the measurement of one photon on its entangled partner.

Additionally, the use of the ICCD camera allowed the group to demonstrate the high flexibility of the setup in creating any desired spatial-mode entanglement, which suggests as well that visual imaging in quantum optics not only provides a better intuitive understanding of entanglement but will improve applications of quantum science.

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Image Ultracold Quantum Gases

Studies of Quantum Gases, such as Bose-Einstein Condensates (BEC), benefit considerably from advanced detector performance that can image fast dynamics of trapped atoms or ions, held in MOT traps at temperatures close to zero Kelvin. It is often important to image the rapid dynamics of trapped species immediately after the MOT is turned off, allowing fundamental properties of the trapped atom/ion cloud to be elucidated. Furthermore, it can be a requirement to perform fluorescence imaging of small and discrete amounts of trapped atoms.

Oxford Instruments Andor Technology’s market-leading portfolio of EMCCD, CCD and sCMOS detectors offer diverse solutions for imaging of a variety of types of quantum gases, across a range of experimental systems and imaging modalities.

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Learning Resources

Miles Padgett

"Andor EMCCD and ICCD cameras have been successfully used in biphoton and single-photon ghost imaging experiments involving 2D visualisation of these quantum phenomena."

Prof. Miles Padgett, Professor of Optics, University of Glasgow