A quantum-powered microscope that can zoom in on tiny structures with 35 per cent more clarity could be a major leap for medical research, a study has reported.
Researchers from the University of Queensland created the device, which is capable of revealing biological structures that would otherwise be impossible to see.
Specifically, it can image biological cells and other object on a micrometre (µm) scale — that is, 70 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair.
The new microscope design is the first entanglement-based sensor capable of outperforming existing, classical physics-based technology.
This phenomenon sees particles that have been 'entangled' behave as if linked, even when separated, meaning that the actions of one alters the behaviour of the other.
Traditionally, the performance of light-based microscopes has been limited by how light exists as discrete energy packets called photons.
As photons are emitted from a source (like a laser, for example) at random times, the light is subject to so-called 'shot noise', which restricts sensitivity and resolution.
The normal way to overcome this limit is to increase the intensity of the light — resulting in more photons and an averaging out of the statistically fluctuations.