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.

meet us in 2024

Jan 30 - Feb 01, 2024 San Francisco
SPIE Photonics West 2024

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

Jun 23 - jun 27, 2024 Rotterdam
OPTICA 2.0 Conference & Exhibition 2024

The development and use of quantum superposition and entanglement in large technical systems are relevant to Quantum 2.0. Single Quantum and Fraunhofer IOF will be on site.

Jun 26 - jun 28, 2024 genoa
Società Italiana di Elettronica 2024

SIE 2024, the 55th Annual Meeting of the Italian Society of Electronics (SIE), will be held at the University of Genoa / Italy. FastGhost partner FBK will talk about SPAD-based Imager.

Sep 10 - Sep 12, 2024 Berlin
Quantum Technology International Conference 2024

QTech is all about latest developments in quantum technologies in the fields of sensors, metrology, communication, and computation. FastGhost partner FBK will be on site.

meet us in 2023

Jan 28 - Feb 02, 2023 San Francisco
SPIE 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. FastGhost partner Fraunhofer IOF will attend.

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

This meeting will explore the future applications of quantum sensors and quantum-enhanced imaging systems, such as SPADs. FastGhost partner Fraunhofer IOF will attend.

Apr 12 - Apr 14, 2023 Villach
31st Workshop on Advances in Analog Circuit Design

The AACD connects people working at the frontiers of analog circuit design. FastGhost partner FBK will talk about single-photon imagers for time-resolved applications.

May 23 - May 25, 2023 Madrid
QUANTUM Matter 2023, 3rd edition

The conference connects communities concerned with the science and technology of quantum information and quantum matter. FastGhost partner SQ will be on site.

Jun 27 - Jun 30, 2023 Munich

The International Trade Fair for Quantum Technologies will be continued. The FastGhost consortium aims to present recent project results at the Forum World of Quantum.

Sep 11 - Sep 14, 2023 Lisbon

The ESSCIRC provides an annual European forum for the discussion of recent advances in solid-state devices and circuit. FastGhost partner FBK will talk about SPAD arrays.

Sep 25 - Sep 28, 2023 Tokyo

The ICICDT provides an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas about semiconductor circuit, design, technology, and process. FastGhost partner FBK will talk about CMOS SPAD.

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