Quantum Mechanics Research May Impact Future Navy
Story Number: NNS070817-07
Release Date: 8/17/2007 12:53:00 PM
By John J. Joyce, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division Public Affairs
DAHLGREN, Va. (NNS) -- A new theory being studied by the Naval Special Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren Division quantum processing group (QPG) since 1996 will revolutionize quantum technology and impact the future Navy with hyper-capable devices, a principal scientist here stated Aug. 10.
“The development of hyper-capable devices which exploit the extremely weird features of deep quantum reality is enabled by Dr. Yakir Aharonov’s new theory,” said Dr. Dan Parks, NSWC Dahlgren QPG theoretical quantum physics principal investigator. “Such a device could directly catalyze time in order to speed-up information processing.”
Aharonov, professor of theoretical physics in the Center for Quantum Studies at George Mason University, theorizes that the future influences the present and predicts an underlying deep quantum reality.
“As a result of the deeper reformulation of quantum mechanics, it is expected that many new and exciting technologies will arise that will greatly benefit the Navy both in traditional as well as new and unexpected technologies,” said John Gray, NSWC Dahlgren QPG theoretical physicist.
One of the first pioneering experiments that verified Aharonov’s new theory of weak quantum mechanical measurements and weak values was conducted at NSWC Dahlgren in 1996.
“A better understanding of this research area could result in new signal processing techniques and designs that can be used to detect additional components of signals allowing for detection of low signal-to-noise targets in noisy environments,” said Gray. “These techniques could be used to boost sensor detection for both radar and sonar in a number of Navy related areas.”
For the past few years, Dahlgren’s QPG has been working directly with Aharonov –- a frequent Nobel Prize nominee -– and has validated aspects of his theory which extends standard quantum mechanics to include weak measurements and weak values. Weak measurements are unobtrusive and make it possible to measure something, such as a photon (particle of light), without affecting it.
“The main charter of the QPG is to identify or develop militarily useful hyper-capable devices and ensure their transition to fleet operations,” said Parks who compared research results with world-renowned physicists about the new theory at a quantum physics workshop held in June at Tempe, Ariz. “I think the NSWCDD QPG is unique within the Navy -- what we do may seem to many like science fiction but it is rapidly becoming science fact.”
Aharonov agrees. The physicist has recognized NSWC Dahlgren QPG for their experimental and theoretical contributions to quantum information science (QIS) in the area of weak quantum measurements and weak quantum values.
“We applaud the foresight of the U.S. Navy and its commitment to the potential military value of quantum based technologies,” said Aharonov in a letter to NSWC Dahlgren Division Electromagnetic and Sensor Systems Department leadership. “This high quality leading edge research is not only important for quantum information science, but also contributes to a better understanding of the underlying quantum physical phenomena.”
Collaboration with George Mason University’s Center for Quantum Studies is expected to continually impact the high quality of QIS research at NSWC Dahlgren.
“The enormous commercial value associated with quantum technology is accelerating its development,” said Parks. “It is our responsibility to keep up with this pace of development and make sure that Navy systems become quantum capable when warranted.”
To keep up the pace, experiments focusing on new non-local aspects of deep quantum reality are scheduled to be performed at Dahlgren in fiscal year 2008. The three fundamental weak measurement experiments were designed jointly by NSWC Dahlgren QPG, Aharonov and Dr. Jeff Tollaksen, director of the Center for Quantum Studies.
“Members of the NSWCDD QPG have been disciples of Dr. Aharonov’s research for nearly a decade now and we consider ourselves very fortunate in being asked to collaborate with such an eminent scientist,” added Parks. “We can now discuss new ideas directly with him, as well as interact with other “Nobel quality” physicists. His recognition of our research and our recent affiliation with the Center for Quantum Studies has helped establish the QPG’s international reputation in the field.”
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