Fast quantum ghost microscopy in the mid-infrared

While we typically do not think of atoms in a molecule as moving around, molecules can stretch along their bonds, vibrate around their centres of mass and rotate around their axes. The frequencies (or corresponding wavelengths) at which these motions occur are characteristic and unique for each molecule, creating what is known as a spectral fingerprint. The molecular fingerprint region of the electromagnetic spectrum (the mid-infrared, or mid-IR region) is of enormous interest as it offers a non-invasive method for identifying and quantifying molecules.

The EU-funded FastGhost project is manipulating single photons and photon pairs to deliver a ground-breaking quantum imaging system for the mid-IR region targeting the medical sciences.

Project Goals
Sketch of the concept of real-time, high-resolution Ghost Imaging.

Quantum imaging using non-classically correlated photon pairs has been shown to possess fundamental advantages with respect to known imaging modalities based on classical light. These are the possibilities to image with very low photon numbers while maintaining a high image quality, to have sample interaction and spatial detection on different wavelength channels.  Although these advantages signify a large potential for applications, realizations  have been on the level of principle demonstrations so far.

The overarching goal of the FastGhost project is to move quantum imaging from a conceptually demonstrated experimental approach to a technology with viable benefits for applications. The FastGhost consortium aims to demonstrate the benefits of quantum imaging in a microscopy lab demonstrator on TRL 4. Measurements with high spatial resolution in the mid-infrared spectral range are to be carried out using only spatially resolving detectors for visible light.

To this end, photon pair sources optimized for quantum imaging, single-photon detectors for the mid-infrared, and highly resolving single-photon cameras will be developed. The final demonstrator integrates all components and will represent a practically usable imaging device with application-oriented performance parameters. FastGhost will show the capabilities of the demonstrator in prototype applications that are targeting imaging in medicine and life sciences. 

 This will enable quantitative assessment of the quantum advantages which will be used to identify marketable application cases.

Project Details
Overview of the technical work packages of FastGhost and their connection; the project progress is monitored by the indicated milestones.
Project Milestones
Milestone 1

Single photon detectors for 4 µm photon wavelength with efficiency of at least 5% & dark counts smaller than 10000 per second are demonstrated.

Milestone 2

A SPAD array camera with at least 100×100 pixels capable of capturing & timing 106 individual photon detection events at 600 nm is demonstrated. 

Milestone 3

High-resolution MIR Ghost Imaging with a spatial resolution of at least 10 µm at 4 µm or longer wavelength is experimentally demonstrated.

Milestone 4

The lab setup using a SPAD array camera enabling fast Quantum Ghost Imaging is operational, where the image acquisition time is maximally 1 s.

Milestone 5

Mechanical frame and optical assembly of the integrated microscopy demonstrator are finished. The optical parameters are characterized.

Upcoming Events

Jan 28 - Feb 02, 2023
Photonics West 2023

Meet FastGhost partners at the world’s premier lasers, biomedical optics, optoelectronics, biophotonic & quantum technologies event in San Francisco / USA.

Feb 13, 2023
EPIC Online Technology Meeting on Bio-Imaging and Bio-Photonics

This meeting will discuss the state-of-the at bio-Imaging and biophotonics as a highly interdisciplinary field.

Feb 27, 2023
EPIC Online Technology Meeting on Quantum Metrology and Quantum Sensors

This meeting will explore the future applications of quantum sensors as well as quantum-enhanced imaging systems, such as SPADs and low-light cameras.

Jun 27 - Jun 30, 2023

The International Trade Fair for Quantum Technologies will be continued. The FastGhost consortium aims to present recent project results.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 899580.