Synopsis: Quantum Solution for Telescope Arrays

Quantum repeaters, devices that have been proposed for transporting encrypted information, could help collect light from distant telescopes in large area arrays.
Synopsis figure
D. Gottesman et al. Phys. Rev. Lett. (2012)

Large telescope arrays have a high resolving power because light is collected from several telescopes and compared using interferometry techniques. Designing optical and infrared arrays with the telescopes further apart would give astronomers a higher resolution tool with which to image planets outside our solar system and stars with more detail. However, the greater the distance the light has to travel from each telescope to the interferometer, the harder it is to ensure it won’t suffer a phase fluctuation or attenuate along its path, which is what limits current optical and infrared telescope arrays to separations of a few hundred meters.

In Physical Review Letters, Daniel Gottesman at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Canada and his colleagues propose that future designs of telescope arrays might take advantage of quantum tools. They suggest transporting light from the telescopes to the interferometer using quantum repeaters—devices, which can, in principle, use entangled photons to transmit quantum states with great precision over very long distances.

Current quantum repeater technology has been tailored for quantum communication and can’t accommodate the high photon rate and bandwidth of light collected by telescopes. Gottesman et al. have outlined the requirements for using quantum repeaters in telescope interferometers and argue that it is worth developing these quantum devices given the new astronomical insights that larger telescope arrays would permit. – Sami Mitra


Features

More Features »

Subject Areas

Quantum InformationAstrophysics

Previous Synopsis

Astrophysics

Cosmic Drift

Read More »

Next Synopsis

Semiconductor Physics

Tunneling with the Help of Photons

Read More »

Related Articles

Synopsis: A Dark Side for Qubits
Quantum Information

Synopsis: A Dark Side for Qubits

Dark solitons in a Bose-Einstein condensate could, according to calculations, function as qubits with long lifetimes. Read More »

Synopsis: Blocking out Starlight
Astrophysics

Synopsis: Blocking out Starlight

A proposed telescope update could enable incoming light from multiple stars to be simultaneously blocked, making it easier to image exoplanets orbiting two or more stars. Read More »

Viewpoint: 3D View of a Comet’s Neighborhood
Astrophysics

Viewpoint: 3D View of a Comet’s Neighborhood

Detailed 3D simulations of a comet’s environment reveal the rich dynamics of ions and electrons observed by the Rosetta spacecraft around comet 67P. Read More »

More Articles