Modern-day detection of enemy planes in the air is heavily reliant on the use of radars. Radars send out a signal which hits an enemy plane within its range and is reflected back, alerting the system of its presence. However, conventional radars can be jammed and so, scientists have now come up with a better alternative.
Planes usually make use of anti-detection system which are able to fool conventional radars. These systems intercept the radar’s signal and send back a false image so that the radar is unable to discern the presence of an enemy plane and disregards it as simply a bird.
However, a group of researchers at University of Rochester have now come up with the idea of using quantum imaging to counter anti-detection systems. Quantum imaging essentially makes use of the quantum nature of light – in other words, it deploys photons to do the work.
These photons are polarized before they are sent towards a given object. When the object, say an enemy plane, detects them, it tries to modify them and feed them a false image. However, this immediately alters the polarity of these photons. When the photos are reflected back to the radar, the system is able to detect their altered polarity. In this way, an enemy plane equipped with anti-detection system can be detected.
For now, this unique use of quantum imaging has been demonstrated only as part of the research. But the team working on it believes that this new technique can find extensive applications in modern optical ranging and imaging systems.
Source: MIT Tech Review