Researchers Using Quantum “Squeezed Light” to Image The Insides of Cells
Conventional optical imaging is limited by the process of diffraction, the way light spreads out when it passes an object. The amount of diffraction depends, in part, on natural uncertainties in the position of the photons. Physicists think of this uncertainty as quantum noise.
In recent years, however, they’ve have worked out how to minimise the amount quantum noise by carefully manipulating the way photons are created. They call the resulting photons “squeezed light” and there has been no little excitement over their potential to beat the conventional diffraction limit in all kinds of applications.
One obvious use is in cellular imaging where squeezed light offers biologists a clear advantage for exploring cellular processes. Various groups have used squeezed light to make pioneering measurements inside cells. But the process of imaging to reveal spatial variations in the structure of a cell, has so far eluded them.