Astronomical Applications of Quantum Optics and Quantum Computing
The Extremely Large Telescopes of the near future, with apertures around 50 meters, give hopes to apply Quantum Optics and Quantum Computing concepts to the astronomical field, extracting novel information from the incoming photon stream.
Following an initial study for a possible focal plane instrument for the OverWhelmingly Large Telescope (OWL) of the European Southern Observatory (when the design aperture was 100m), we have started a program to investigate the detection and measurement of photon properties that are not currently exploited in astronomical instruments, namely the second- and higher- order coherence functions encoded in the photon arrival time. These methods would also realize a modern version of the Hanbury-Brown Twiss interferometer.
In addition to new detecting devices (essentially available with current technology pushed to its limits), novel analysis methods will be required to explore the huge multidimensional data sets thus generated. Hopefully, quantum computers and quantum algorithms will provide the solution.
This talk will expound the scientific bases, the already achieved results, and the ongoing plans.