Quantum Optics & Imaging

Fundamental research advances across the broad fields of quantum imaging feed directly into advanced domains such as quantum lithography, quantum communication, quantum computing and quantum sensing.

Oxford Instruments has solutions which are central to fundamental research on Entangled Photon Systems and Ultracold Quantum Gases. Quantum entanglement occurs when two photons remain connected, even over large distances, such that actions performed on the quantum state of one have an instant effect on the other, requiring the ability to accurately register single-photon events with high confidence and with high measurement rates. Similarly, the rich field of Quantum Gas studies, such as Bose-Einstein Condensates, benefits considerably from advanced detectors that can image fast dynamics of trapped atoms or ions, often in small quantities.


Discriminate Entangled Photon Pairs

Confident detection of photon events and entangled photon pairs form the basis of most efforts in quantum optics.  These are extremely sensitive experiments, plagued by challenges such as photon losses at interfaces and unwanted sources of background photons. Statistical scalability is also a challenge, with a requirement for increased numbers of parallel event detections as the quantity of correlated photons within the system is increased; so much so that pinhole raster scanning of the image area using a single point detector becomes unfeasible due to extremely long experiment times and high photon losses. Oxford Instruments provide state of the art ultrasensitive imaging solutions to enable cutting edge research and development within the field of quantum entanglement:

Our EMCCD imaging cameras are used to superb effect in systems where spatially correlated photons, incident on an imaging array, need to be detected with superb levels of discrimination and confidence, ultimately yielding accelerated measurement throughout.

Customer Testimonial

"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

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Quantum Ghost Imaging

Ghost Imaging is a technique whereby an image is formed from light that has never interacted with the object. In ghost imaging experiments, two correlated light fields are produced. One of these fields illuminates the object, and the other field is measured by a spatially resolving detector. These complex measurements require reliable measurement of spatially and temporally correlated single photons.

Oxford Instruments Andor Technology’s Intensified Cameras are used in such heralding detection systems, providing time-gated registration of single-photon events across the full scene, avoiding the need to scan single-pixel detectors and offering a dramatic efficiency increase in the measurement of high-dimensional spatial entanglement.

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 Oxford Instruments 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.

Photon-sparse microscopy: visible light imaging using infrared illumination

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, Oxford Instruments Andor Technology 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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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.

The iKon-M 934 CCD camera with the broadband response ‘BEX2-DD’ sensor option has been widely integrated into experimental systems to study a diverse range of ultra-cold atom and ion clouds using the absorption imaging modality.

The iXon Ultra EMCCD camera series has been an extremely popular solution for ultracold atom/ion imaging, presenting flexibility to study via either absorption or fluorescence imaging modalities. Single-photon sensitivity, even under fast frame rate operation, coupled with > 90% QE, enables imaging of very small numbers of trapped atoms.  

Measured fluorescence signal from a few atom MOT, as individual atoms enter and leave trap

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Quantum Imaging with EMCCDs in Photon Counting Regime: A Proven Tool for Measurement of Quantum Features of Light

In the field of quantum optics, imaging started with single-point detectors scanning image planes to reconstruct quantum spatial features of light.

This webinar provides an overview of photon-counting performed with EMCCD imagers, the role various noises play and their impact on data fidelity and robustness and an outlook for EMCCDs as imaging cameras for 2D quantum imaging.

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Quantum Mechanics as Viewed with a Camera

Parametric Down-Conversion is central to most experiments in quantum optics. In essence, photons from an incident pump beam are absorbed by a non-linear crystal and two new photons are created. These new photons are created in exactly the same position and with exactly opposite transverse momentum.

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