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Published April 28, 2023 | Published + Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

Quantum microscopy of cells at the Heisenberg limit


Entangled biphoton sources exhibit nonclassical characteristics and have been applied to imaging techniques such as ghost imaging, quantum holography, and quantum optical coherence tomography. The development of wide-field quantum imaging to date has been hindered by low spatial resolutions, speeds, and contrast-to-noise ratios (CNRs). Here, we present quantum microscopy by coincidence (QMC) with balanced pathlengths, which enables super-resolution imaging at the Heisenberg limit with substantially higher speeds and CNRs than existing wide-field quantum imaging methods. QMC benefits from a configuration with balanced pathlengths, where a pair of entangled photons traversing symmetric paths with balanced optical pathlengths in two arms behave like a single photon with half the wavelength, leading to a two-fold resolution improvement. Concurrently, QMC resists stray light up to 155 times stronger than classical signals. The low intensity and entanglement features of biphotons in QMC promise nondestructive bioimaging. QMC advances quantum imaging to the microscopic level with significant improvements in speed and CNR toward the bioimaging of cancer cells. We experimentally and theoretically prove that the configuration with balanced pathlengths illuminates an avenue for quantum-enhanced coincidence imaging at the Heisenberg limit.

Additional Information

© The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. We thank Dr. Qiyuan Song and Samuel A. Solomon for their assistance with the experiment. We also thank Dr. Kelvin Titimbo Chaparro and Siddik Suleyman Kahraman for the discussion. This project has been made possible in part by grant number 2020-225832 from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative DAF, an advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and National Institutes of Health grants R35 CA220436 (Outstanding Investigator Award) and R01 EB028277. Contributions. Z.H., Y.Z., and X.T. built the imaging system, performed the experiments, and analyzed the data. Z.H. developed the quantum imaging theory. Y.Z. developed the data acquisition program. L.L. prepared the biological samples. L.V.W. conceived the concept and supervised the project. All authors contributed to writing the manuscript. Data availability. Imaging data for the cell images generated in Fig. 4 are available in the Github online at http://github.com/ZheHE2022/Quantum-Microscopy-of-Cells-at-the-Heisenberg-Limit. All data used in this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request. Code availability.The code for the covariance algorithm is provided in the Supplementary Software and Github online at http://github.com/ZheHE2022/Quantum-Microscopy-of-Cells-at-the-Heisenberg-Limit. All custom codes used in this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request. The authors declare no competing interests.

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Supplemental Material - 41467_2023_38191_MOESM1_ESM.pdf


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August 22, 2023
October 20, 2023