Image Credits: Cergios/Shutterstock.com
“Quantum sensing” belongs to the use of quantum states or quantum mechanics to measure. Conventional classical measurement techniques typically fail to reach these limits. Quantum mechanics can enhance the precise sensitivity of a device beyond the classical or conventional shot noise limit. Quantum-based plasmonic sensing has become a discrete and fast-emerging field of research within the area of the quantum world, with the most common stands being spin or flux qubits and confined ions.
The use of quantum states of light to improve measurements was proposed about three decades ago, and the experimental achievements of quantum-enhanced sensors are just beginning to grow. In addition, the boundary between plasmonic sensors and the quantum state offers a unique opportunity to bring quantum-based sensitivity developments to devices that are already used in real-life applications.
Alberto M. Marino is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), shows the ability of quantum phenomenon of light can enhance the sensitivity of state-of-the-art plasmonic sensors.
The researchers of ORNL and the University of Oklahoma used to entangle identical beams to probe a plasmonic sensor that is used to identify deviations in the refractive index. Dowran and his team showed a 56% quantum enhancement in the sensitivity of the sensor, compared with the corresponding classical configuration and 24% quantum enhancement when compared to an optimal single-beam classical configuration.
Applications of Quantum Enhanced Sensors
Quantum-enhanced plasmonic sensors could make it promising to detect minor changes in the surrounding than the existing plasmonic sensors. This part briefly explains the areas of applications of the quantum-enhanced sensors but not limited to these fields of applications.
Biological Marker Detection
Noble metal nanoparticles (Au and Ag) exhibit great plasmonic properties and have been used extensively for low-level and label-free detection analytes. The quantum enhanced plasmonic sensor is determined by the presence of the bio-analytes that change the refractive index of dielectrics around the metal.
The quantum-enhanced sensor used for early authentic detection of analytes related to medical diagnoses such as many types of cancer markers, heart attack markers, allergy markers, blood clotting, antibodies, and hormones.
Food Safety Analysis
With increasing adulteration, the analysis and monitoring of food safety have become considerable in the research field. The quantum-enhanced sensor has the ability to design highly sensitive and selective detection strategies required for food safety analysis.
Quantum based sensing technologies are used in the detection of food contaminants, including pathogen detection, pesticides, toxic elements, antibiotic and metal contaminants.
Quantum-enhanced sensors are expected to play a critical role in environmental monitoring. Environmental monitoring is required to protect the public and the environment from toxic contaminants and pathogens.
Air pollutants include SOx, CO, NOx, and volatile compounds, which originate from sources such as domestic emissions, refineries, and laboratory processes. Soil and water contaminants can be classified as microorganism, radioactive, inorganic compound, synthetic and volatile organic compounds. Quantum-enhanced sensors are the ideal candidate for the environmental pollution monitoring in a precise, authentic, real-time and sensitive manner.