Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Podcast: Entangled Photons Illuminate an Object Without Touching It

This week on the podcast, things get a bit bizarre. I'm talking with physicist Gabriela Barreto Lemos about a new imaging technique where the photons that "see" an object are never collected by the camera; and the photons that create the image never interact with the object. Here's another way to think about it: imagine I want to see an object, so I shine a flashlight on it. But I don't look at the flashlight beam. Instead I shine a second light in the opposite direction, and that second flashlight shows me the object. (*This is a rough analogy, even though the experiment is equally weird).

How is such a thing possible? This counterintuitive set up utilizes two properties of quantum mechanics: entanglement and indistinguishability. Ours is a strange, strange world when quantum mechanics is involved, and this is no except.

Listen to the podcast to hear more.