Quantum Sensing

A quantum enhancement for plasmonic sensors

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Science  15 Jun 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6394, pp. 1199-1200
DOI: 10.1126/science.360.6394.1199-f

Laser light can induce electronic excitations on metal surfaces. These excitations, or plasmons, are sensitive to the surface environment and are now routinely used in chemical and biological sensing applications. Dowran et al. show that the sensitivity of these plasmonic sensors can be enhanced by using quantum states of light. They replace the laser light (used in the classical configuration) with quantum light, in this case a twin beam of entangled photons; one beam is used as a reference and the other to excite the surface plasmons. They find an appreciable sensitivity enhancement in the quantum configuration. Moreover, the reduced light intensity could also prove useful for the detection of light-sensitive chemical or biological samples.

Optica 5, 628 (2018).

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