National Science Foundation

National Science Foundation 22 Mar 2020

Quantum entanglement microscopes advancing chemistry, medicine, materials science and more


Harnessing entangled photons to image fragile samples, such as living cells

With support from the National Science Foundation, this University of Michigan team has built a new laser-based instrument called a quantum entanglement microscope. They're using entangled photons in microscopy, research that was virtually impossible only a decade ago. The microscope generates high resolution images with low intensity beams, enabling the team to image delicate samples, such as living cells, without damaging them. Quantum entangled microscopy is an example of how quantum research is opening the door to advances in all the sciences. The research in this episode was supported by these NSF grants: #1607949 "Entangled Photon Imaging and Microscopy for Chemical and Biological Investigations" and #1836374 "QLC: EAGER: Collaborative Research: Developing Experiment and Theory for Entangled Photon Spectroscopy."

Video message by H.E. Mr. António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General, on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science (11 February 2020)

Science is a collaborative discipline.
Yet science is being held back by a gender gap.
Girls and boys perform equally well in science and mathematics - but only a
fraction of female students in higher education choose to study sciences.
To rise to the challenges of the 21st century, we need to harness our full
That requires dismantling gender stereotypes.
It means supporting the careers of women scientists and researchers.
The Women's Empowerment Principles, developed by UN Women, offer
guidance for companies and others.
In this year in which we mark the 25th anniversary of the Beijing
Declaration and Platform for Action, let us bring new urgency to promoting
women's and girls' access to science education, training and jobs.
On this International Day of Women and Girls in Science, let's pledge to
end the gender imbalance in science.
Let's talk about science! Watch the fifth episode of our #EZScience series to learn how NASA uses balloon science to better understand our planet and universe.

ABOUT THE SERIES: In our #EZScience video series with the National Air and Space Museum, NASA's associate administrator for science Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen and Museum director Dr. Ellen Stofan talk about the latest in planetary science and exploration.
The war against the coronavirus pandemic is being fought in hospitals around the world.
Doctors and nurses on the frontline face long hours and huge workloads.
Hospitals are not only running out of ventilators for patients; they can't supply staff with protective gear such as masks and surgical gowns.
Thousands of health workers are falling ill themselves, and some have been attacked for doing their jobs.
Medical staff have been sharing videos and photos online to show the mental and physical strain.
How should they be protected?

Presenter: Mohammed Jamjoom

Dr Jehan El-Bayoumi - Founding Director of the Rodham Institute, George Washington School of Medicine & Health Sciences
Marco Giacchetti - President, Policlinico Hospital in Milan, Italy
Paul Yip - Chair Professor at the department of Social Work and Social Administration, University of Hong Kong
Queen Elizabeth II addressed the United Kingdom on Sunday in a rare televised speech. Below is a transcript of her remarks:

"I am speaking to you at what I know is an increasingly challenging time. A time of disruption in the life of our country: a disruption that has brought grief to some, financial difficulties to many, and enormous changes to the daily lives of us all.

I want to thank everyone on the NHS front line, as well as care workers and those carrying out essential roles, who selflessly continue their day-to-day duties outside the home in support of us all. I am sure the nation will join me in assuring you that what you do is appreciated and every hour of your hard work brings us closer to a return to more normal times.

I also want to thank those of you who are staying at home, thereby helping to protect the vulnerable and sparing many families the pain already felt by those who have lost loved ones. Together we are tackling this disease, and I want to reassure you that if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it.

I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge. And those who come after us will say the Britons of this generation were as strong as any. That the attributes of self-discipline, of quiet good-humoured resolve and of fellow-feeling still characterise this country. The pride in who we are is not a part of our past, it defines our present and our future.

The moments when the United Kingdom has come together to applaud its care and essential workers will be remembered as an expression of our national spirit; and its symbol will be the rainbows drawn by children.

Across the Commonwealth and around the world, we have seen heart-warming stories of people coming together to help others, be it through delivering food parcels and medicines, checking on neighbours, or converting businesses to help the relief effort.

And though self-isolating may at times be hard, many people of all faiths, and of none, are discovering that it presents an opportunity to slow down, pause and reflect, in prayer or meditation.

It reminds me of the very first broadcast I made, in 1940, helped by my sister. We, as children, spoke from here at Windsor to children who had been evacuated from their homes and sent away for their own safety. Today, once again, many will feel a painful sense of separation from their loved ones. But now, as then, we know, deep down, that it is the right thing to do.

While we have faced challenges before, this one is different. This time we join with all nations across the globe in a common endeavour, using the great advances of science and our instinctive compassion to heal. We will succeed - and that success will belong to every one of us.

We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.

But for now, I send my thanks and warmest good wishes to you all."


… show captions ↓
Miles O’Brien: In Ted Goodson’s lab,
eye protection is the name of the game.
Miles O’Brien: Welcome to “Laser Central.”
Physical chemists use lasers extensively to study
the structure and properties of molecules.
Now the team here at the University of Michigan
is taking laser chemistry to the next level.
And that could mean big strides forward
in areas like cancer treatment, Alzheimer’s research,
and materials science.
Theodore Goodson III: The general area
of using entangled photons to do imaging in microscopy
just maybe only 10 years ago
was virtually thought of as a very, very difficult task
- maybe almost impossible.
Miles O’Brien: With support from
the National Science Foundation,
they’ve built a cutting-edge new laser-based
instrument called a quantum entanglement microscope.
Goodson has had no trouble assembling his team.
This is the next big thing.
Theodore Goodson III: When I ask post-docs,
graduate students,
undergraduate students and high school students,
I give them a choice of the project
that they want to work on.
I know I should always mention the quantum one last
because once I mention the quantum one,
they all say “quantum.”
Miles O’Brien: Photons are particles of light.
This new instrument
is an “Entangled Two-Photon Absorption” Microscope.
It works by generating a quantum behavior called
“entanglement” in the photons that make up the laser beam.
Theodore Goodson III: An entangled pair
has two photons that are entangled to each other,
which means that they share some kind of wave function,
they share some kind of information between each other.
Miles O’Brien: Graduate student Audrey Eshun
gave us a show and tell.
Audrey Eshun: Here is where our laser beam
comes through,
and it passes through this crystal
and that’s where we generate our entangled photons.
From there, the light goes and hits the sample,
and then the light passes through the sample
to this detector right here.
Miles O’Brien: The microscope generates
high resolution images using low intensity beams,
many orders of magnitude lower than anything used before.
Audrey Eshun: So, if you were to do imaging
with normal or random light,
you would be using very, very, very high intensity light,
but this is a lot less powerful.
Miles O’Brien: Less powerful,
but very effective.
The low intensity nature of the entangled photon beam
means the team can image delicate samples,
like living cells, without damaging them in the process,
and that should lead to advances in medicine,
like better cancer diagnostics.
Theodore Goodson III: And, our project is actually
to actually use this microscope to see
if we can actually find signatures of the cancer cell
without the use of a probe dye.
Miles O’Brien: The new technique
could have applications in materials science,
like better, more sensitive L-E-D’s of the kind
used in the solar energy sector.
Theodore Goodson III: So, we would like to investigate
the quality of a light-emitting diode or a photovoltaic device.
Can we utilize this microscope to investigate the properties
of the molecules in these displays?
Miles O’Brien: Goodson stresses that quantum
entangled microscopy opens the door
to learning things entirely new about chemistry.
Theodore Goodson III: The world is changing
in quantum mechanics and quantum information science.
It offers new opportunities for things
that we can see and image,
that we can sense in chemistry, in medicine, in biology,
and we can actually do in engineering.
Miles O’Brien: Harnessing entangled photons
to image fragile samples,
generating sharp images of the very small
with the gentlest of touches.
For Science Nation, I’m Miles O’Brien.

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