This article has an erratum: [https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201322665e]
Volume 561, January 2014
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Published online||21 January 2014|
Beating the diffraction limit in astronomy via quantum cloning
Durham University, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
Received: 13 September 2013
Accepted: 19 December 2013
Context. The diffraction limit is considered as the absolute boundary for the angular resolution of a telescope. Non-linear optical processes, however, allow the diffraction limit to be beaten non-deterministically.
Aims. We examine the possibility of overcoming the diffraction limit of a telescope through photon cloning processes, heralded by trigger events. Whilst perfect cloning is ruled out by quantum mechanics, imperfect cloning is attainable and can beat the diffraction limit on a reduced fraction of photons.
Methods. We suggest to insert a layer of excited atoms in a pupil plane of the telescope. When a photon from the astronomical source passes the pupil, it stimulates the emission of identical photons by the excited atoms. The set of photons arrives on a coincidence detector, and the average position of simultaneously arriving photons is recorded. The contribution of spontaneous emissions is minimized by use of a trigger signal, implemented via a quantum-non-demolition measurement.
Results. The proposed set-up – an optical amplifier triggered by a quantum-non-demolition measurement – allows to beat the diffraction limit of a telescope, at the price of a loss in efficiency. The efficiency may, however, be compensated for through increased exposure times.
Conclusions. The main conclusion is the possibility in principle to improve the angular resolution of a telescope beyond the diffraction limit and thus to achieve high-angular resolutions with moderately sized telescopes.
Key words: telescopes / instrumentation: high angular resolution
© ESO, 2014
Current usage metrics show cumulative count of Article Views (full-text article views including HTML views, PDF and ePub downloads, according to the available data) and Abstracts Views on Vision4Press platform.
Data correspond to usage on the plateform after 2015. The current usage metrics is available 48-96 hours after online publication and is updated daily on week days.
Initial download of the metrics may take a while.