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Zheshen Zhang
Zheshen ZhangAssociate ProfessorElectrical Engineering and Computer Science


NSF Convergence Accelerator

Quantum-Interconnected Sensors Enhanced by Entanglement

In the Convergence Accelerator project, our team builds a quantum-sensing architecture that interconnects a variety of sensors with optical interfaces via quantum-photonics backbone platforms to form an entangled sensor network. Such entanglement-enhanced sensing will benefit a multitude of domains, including scientific measurements, inertial navigation, space control and planetary exploration, and healthcare imaging for broad societal impacts. The overarching project vision is to lay the ecosystem foundations for academia, industrial manufacturers, and end users to support the sustainable research and development of entanglement-enhanced sensing technologies and applications.

Phase I demo schematic

A major Phase I deliverable is development of the prototype of entanglement-enhanced interconnected optomechanical sensors, illustrated below. The prototype takes advantage of entanglement produced from squeezed light to interrogate optomechanical membrane sensors. Each sensor consists of a high-Q SiN membrane embedded in a vacuum chamber to achieve high measurement sensitivity. The force sensors impart phase shifts on the probing entangled light in response to the measured force signal. Two balanced homodyne detectors extract the phase shifts to infer the properties of the force field. In the prototype, test forces are induced by radiation pressure applied by a separately modulated laser at 775 nm. Entanglement enables a 2 dB reduction of the noise floor and a 33% broadening of the measurement bandwidth.

Phase I demo setup

Phase II prototype

In Phase II our team will develop a quantum-enhanced inertial measurement unit (QEIMU) for positioning and navigation at a performance level well beyond the current state-of-the-art inertial sensors. Phase II will build upon the Phase I results, inputs from user interviews, and the concepts conceived with partners through prototyping meetings. The expected outcome of this project will be a landmark example of how quantum technologies can yield near-term societal impacts within a 5 to 10-year timeframe in diverse realms, such as aerospace navigation, self-driving cars, and space exploration.