Thursday, January 14, 2016

DARPA Explores Fundamental Limits of Photon Detection

DARPA scientists suspect that the performance of light-based applications could improve by orders of magnitude if they could get beyond conventional photon detector designs—perhaps even to the point of being able to identify each and every photon relevant to a given application.

DARPA’s Fundamental Limits of Photon Detection—or Detect—program aims to establish the first-principles limits of photon detector performance by developing new fully quantum models of photon detection in a variety of technology platforms, and by testing those models in proof-of-concept experiments.

The goal of the Detect program is to determine how precisely we can spot individual photons and whether we can maximize key characteristics of photon detectors simultaneously in a single system,” said Prem Kumar, DARPA program manager. “This is a fundamental research effort, but answers to these questions could radically change light detection as we know it and vastly improve the many tools and avenues of discovery that today rely on light detection.

2 comments:

  1. They seem to have plenty of time and free money to burn. Statements from their website which seem ludicrous:

    "first-principles limits of photon detector performance by developing new fully quantum models of photon detection in a variety of technology platforms, and by testing those models in proof-of-concept experiments"

    New "fully" quantum models on various technology platforms??

    "The goal of the Detect program is to determine how precisely we can spot individual photons.."

    Thats not what has been define above. So you need a better QE model?

    "Answers to these questions could radically change light detection as we know it and vastly improve the many tools and avenues of discovery"

    Presidential speech warning...

    "That cloud of atoms has to be modeled quantum mechanically to conclude with precision that a photon was actually there. And modeling at that massive scale hasn’t been possible—until recently.."

    Hollywood movie dialog alert...

    "recent progress in the field of quantum information science has allowed us to model very large and complicated systems"

    Ok. More computing power?

    "Current photon detectors... have various strengths and weaknesses ..including what physicists refer to as timing jitter; dark count; maximum rate; bandwidth; efficiency; photon-number resolution; operating temperature; and array size"

    Nope, sorry: these are technological considerations, not limited by fundamental science. But probably this is what the program actally will look into (meaning the normal IC design stuff...)

    "The fully quantum model developed and tested in Detect will help determine the potential for creating such a device"

    Thats not what has been defined above as the goal. Is this then a feasibility study,for which the conclusion are already known?

    “We want to know whether the basic physics of photon detection allows us, at least theoretically, to have all of the attributes we want simultaneously, or whether there are inherent tradeoffs,”

    Grab any undergraduate physics textbook, or I can lend one if you dont have one...

    The Detect program will require expertise in a number of crosscutting disciplines, including... quantum measurement theory and experimentation, quantum information science and technology, semiconductor physics, superconductor physics, biological physics and quantum biology, quantum-limited amplification, device and system design and engineering..."

    How about a woo-woo buster?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They'll no doubt discover that they can increase photon count 10 fold in simulation but any attempt to observe would result in only one quantum state making it the same as current observations. That quantum word is the new snake oil.

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