Quantum technology has expanded astronomy and astrophysics in recent years. Quantum telescopes could transform our understanding of the universe. They detect and study celestial objects using quantum mechanics. And collect universe data using entangled particles instead of light.
These telescopes can function at wavelengths that the Earth’s atmosphere usually blocks. It can research exoplanets, black holes, and dark matter that traditional telescopes cannot see. Moreover, They may also observe astronomical objects more precisely than regular telescopes. They have higher sensitivities and resolutions, allowing them to see the universe more clearly. These telescopes can help us understand the universe by seeing it in new ways.
Astronomers try to photograph objects and events with optical (visible light) telescopes. Interferometry, where many telescopes gather light to generate a more full image, has solved this problem. The Event Horizon Telescope used observatories worldwide to obtain the first photographs of the supermassive black hole (SMBH) at the heart of the M87 galaxy and Sagittarius A* at the center of the Milky Way.
However, maintaining optical links between observatories limits conventional interferometry and increases expenditures. Astrophysicists and theoretical physicists recently proposed using quantum mechanics to circumvent these restrictions. They propose sharing photons across observatories using quantum entanglements instead of optical cables. This research could lead to something very big someday.
What is the development so far?
Scottish scientists are developing the Quantum Enabled Remote Imaging, Spectroscopy, and Polarimetry (QuRIP) equipment, a quantum technology telescope. QuRIP will examine celestial objects’ light polarization with entangled photons to reveal the universe’s structure and evolution.
Another example is the European Space Agency’s Quantum Astrophysics Satellite (Qubic). The European Space Agency’s Quantum Astrophysics Satellite (Qubic) will launch in 2026. Qubic will employ quantum technology to examine the cosmic microwave background radiation, revealing the early universe and the first galaxies.
Quantum telescopes VS Regular telescopes!
Quantum telescopes collect cosmic data differently than regular observatories.
Traditional telescopes concentrate light from celestial objects onto a camera or spectrometer. The size, mass, temperature, and chemical composition of these things are studied using this light.
Quantum technology detects and manipulates entangled particles like photons to acquire astronomical data. They detect and study celestial objects using quantum physics, such as quantum entanglement and superposition.
Its capacity to function in wavelengths covered by the Earth’s atmosphere, such as infrared and millimeter, is its main benefit. Exoplanets, black holes, and dark matter can be studied with it. They can also observe astronomical objects with greater sensitivity and resolution than regular telescopes. However, These telescopes detect and manipulate entangled particles, while classical telescopes collect light.
What are experts’ though on this technology?
Dr. Andrei Nomerotski is an astronomer at Brookhaven National Laboratory and also a co-author of the paper. He shares his thoughts with Universe Today through an Email. Dombrowski says the team is creating a physical description with both choices. Multiple stations and quantum protocols could process quantum information in “noisy” environments.
The researchers created a bench-top two-photon interferometer using a narrow spectral line in two argon lamps to test their idea (to simulate two stars). HBT peaks, channel correlations, and photon phase dependency were observed as expected by the theoretical study. He says:
“Interferometry is a way to increase the effective aperture of telescopes and to improve the angular resolution or astrometric precision,” he said. “The main difficulty here is to maintain the stability of this optical path to very high precision, which should be much smaller than the photon wavelength, to preserve the photon’s phase. This limits the practical baselines to a few hundred meters.
Quantum techniques could enable observations at previously inaccessible wavelengths and more thorough studies of black holes, exoplanets, the Solar System, and distant stars. As quantum computing technology evolves, its applications will spread to other fields. Quantum telescopes could change our understanding of the universe by operating at wavelengths veiled by the Earth’s atmosphere and providing more detailed observations of cosmic objects.