The quantum world, strikes again. And this time, the results could be deadly.
A new high-definition stealth radar system that could change the entire nature of warfare has been demonstrated for the first time — silencing critics, once and for all.
According to Military & Aerospace Electronics, quantum radar is a high definition detection system that provides a much more detailed image of targets while itself remaining difficult to detect.
It could also provide users with enough detail to identify aircraft, missiles, and other aerial targets by specific model, the report said.
Researchers at Austria’s Institute of Science and Technology in Klosterneuburg, Austria, used entangled microwaves to create one of the world’s first quantum radar systems.
Under a principle known as quantum entanglement, two particles can be linked together regardless of distance, forming what scientists call a quantum entangled pair.
When something happens to one particle it can be noticed in the other particle. This in turn leads to a process called quantum illumination, where information about one particle’s environment can be inferred by studying the other particle.
Albert Einstein colorfully dismissed quantum entanglement as “spooky action at a distance.” Over the past few decades, however, physicists have demonstrated the reality of spooky action over ever greater distances — even from Earth to a satellite in space.
Still confused? So are we.
Check out this explanation from EDGY.
Tracking objects using entangled photons is actually a no-brainer concept. Nothing in the known universe travels faster than light photons, which also transmit information in real-time when in an entangled system.
In a quantum radar system, the first photon is kept in the device while its twin is sent as microwave frequency to potential target objects.
As the second photon encounters an obstacle, its change of state is reflected by the static photon immediately, regardless of the distance separating them. Then, the computer would calculate the object’s distance, speed, size, and other characteristics.
Last year, the state-owned China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC) claimed it had built the first quantum radar — that would render stealth aircraft technology obsolete — at a range of about 60 miles.
While that is not a particularly huge feat, the fact that such a radar would be able to provide a weapons quality track on a stealth aircraft at those distances is impressive.
That means, China could shoot down stealthy F-35s and B-2s, no matter what the weather. It can even see through jamming, some scientists claim, but that has yet to be proven.
In Canada, researchers at the University of Waterloo are also working on a CDN$2.7 million project to develop a quantum radar system capable of spotting stealth aircraft and missiles. Geomagnetic storms and solar flares in the Canadian Arctic makes detection less effective using conventional radars.
According to MIT Technology Review, to create pairs of entangled microwave photons, the Austrian team used a superconducting device called a Josephson parametric converter.
They call the photon they beam toward the object of interest the “signal photon,” and the one stored in the device, the “idler photon.”
Today’s radars can detect targets, but provide little detail, Popular Mechanics reported. Radars can detect an object and note it’s altitude, bearing, and distance, but otherwise the target is a big, featureless blob.
Air defenders must rely on other things, such identifying radar and other electromagnetic signals emanating from the target, to discern whether the blob is an enemy fighter, bomber, or even a commercial aircraft.
Quantum radars, on the other hand, could provide enough detail for radar systems to identify the object based on physical characteristics. A B-2 Stealth bomber, for example, could be identified by the sweep of its wings, the shape of its nose, and the number of engines.
Another benefit of quantum radars: they emit very little energy and are thus difficult to detect — a distinct tactical advantage in warfare.
Quantum radar does have its critics, however.
Nanjing University physicist Ma Xiaosong told the South China Morning Post that in a quantum radar, photons have to maintain certain quantum states — such as upward or downward spin to remain entangled.
However, the quantum states could be disrupted — resulting in “decoherence.” Decoherence is a potential limiting factor to the maximum effective range of an operational quantum radar, the report said.
This could lead to “decoherence” jamming methods, to foil quantum radar — technology that is far in the future.