Quantum entanglement could make radar up to 500 times more accurate

The limits of radar

Quantum radar is a broad term for technologies that combine quantum properties with classical radar. So far, theoretical and practical experiments have been somewhat disappointing, but there is still hope. A new paper shows that quantum techniques can deliver a significant improvement in accuracy. This applies in the case of a low signal-to-noise ratio, i.e. at the edge of the range of the current radar.

Since a radar is not an everyday house-garden-kitchen tool, it is worth explaining this concept. The word stands for radio detection and ranging, which means detecting and measuring distance using radio waves. Sonar and lidar use a similar technique but use sound and light respectively. This electromagnetic radiation is emitted by an antenna and partly reflects off an object such as an airplane.

The echo is picked up by the same or a different antenna and the time from transmission to reception gives the distance to the object. The amount of reflected radiation makes it possible to determine the radar cross-section of the object. Because the antenna rotates, the direction is known and the speed can be derived from several measurements. This operation also explains the angular shapes of stealth aircraft. These serve to reflect as many radio waves as possible in a different direction.


The Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk, the first operational stealth aircraft.

The big disadvantage of radar is the limited range. The signal strength decreases with the fourth power of the distance. This is because the power of the radiation decreases quadratically on the way there, and again on the way back. For example, a radar with a transmitter of 1 kilowatt and an antenna with an amplification factor of 10 must be able to receive a signal of a few nanowatts in order to detect an object of one square meter at a distance of 5 kilometers.

Next page: 2. More accurate thanks to quantum magic

Source: Hardware Info Compleet by nl.hardware.info.

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