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July 12, 2012

DARPA Projects - Enabling Quantum Technology and Trying To Achieve 10 bits per photon communication

DARPA 2013 budget justification is out and it updates progress on DARPA projects. (336 pages)

Enabling Quantum Technologies

FY 2011 $8.385 million
FY 2012 $9.233 million
FY 2013 $15.70 million


Description: This thrust emphasizes a quantum focus on technology capabilities including significantly improved single photon sources, detectors, and associated devices useful for quantum metrology, communications, and imaging applications. In addition, this thrust will examine other novel classes of materials and phenomena such as plasmons or Bose-Einstein Condensates (BEC) that have the potential to provide novel capabilities in the quantum regime, such as GPS-independent navigation via atom interferometry and communications, and ultrafast laser technologies.



FY 2011 Accomplishments:
- Designed a physics package for an optical clock including lasers, optomechanics, associated electronics, and environmental isolation and control subsystems.
- Determined the mechanical stability of doped-crystal Fabry-Perot optical cavities for use in time and frequency transfer between optical clocks.
- Investigated techniques to improve the coherence properties of nitrogen-vacancy diamond nanocrystals for use in high resolution magnetometry.
- Achieved photonic cooling of a nanomechanical oscillator to its quantum ground state.

FY 2012 Plans:
- Demonstrate an optomechanical accelerometer with sensitivity of 10 micro-g/hertz^1/2 sensitivity and 1 kilohertz bandwidth.
- Demonstrate diamond magnetometer with less than 5 microtesla/hertz^1/2 and less than 10 nanometer resolution.
- Demonstrate a compact cold alkaline beam source for an optical clock.
- Investigate the feasibility of high average power, ultrafast laser architectures suitable for high throughput industrial micromachining.

FY 2013 Plans:
- Demonstrate an optomechanical accelerometer with sensitivity of 1 micro-g/Hz^1/2 sensitivity and 1 kHz bandwidth.
- Demonstrate an integrated optomechanical device for coupling optical and microwave photons.
- Use diamond-atomic force microscopy magnetometer to sense one electron spin on a surface with spatial resolution less than 5 nanometers.
- Demonstrate a compact optical clock.
- Demonstrate on-chip, octave-spanning frequency comb with 200 GHz line spacing.
- Explore schemes extending frequency combs from the extreme UV into the medium wavelength infrared (MWIR) and long wavelength infrared (LWIR) spectral regimes for applications of interest to the DoD.
- Examine the utility of robust, compact attosecond probes for real-time control of atomic excitations, valence electron dynamics, and transport phenomena in ultra-dense matter.

Basic Photon Science

FY 2011 $10.452 million
FY 2012 $21.500 million
FY 2013 $13.000 million

Description: Initiated under the Fundamentals of Nanoscale Devices effort, the Basic Photon Science thrust is examining the fundamental science of photons, from their inherent information carrying capability (both quantum mechanically and classically), to novel modulation techniques using not only amplitude and phase, but also orbital angular momentum. The new capabilities driven by this science will impact DoD through potentially novel approaches to communications and imaging applications, in addition to better understanding the physical limits of such advancement. For example, fully exploiting the computational imaging paradigm and associated emerging technologies to yield ultra-low size, weight, and power persistent/multi-functional intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems that greatly enhance soldier awareness, capability, security, and survivability.

FY 2011 Accomplishments:
- Investigated the theoretical and practical limits to the information content of a single photon via rigorous application of information theory.
- Investigated the utility of information theoretic approach for design and improved receivers for high data rate communications.
- Investigated the utility of information theoretic approach for improved low-light level imaging.
- Developed the basic science required for the exploitation of orbital angular momentum in both the classical and quantum realms.
- Began to study the fundamental limits of computational imaging by quantifying the space of cost and performance.
- Began to develop the mathematical tools required to facilitate the joint optimization of physical and computational degrees of freedom.

FY 2012 Plans:
- Investigate the practical limits to the information content of a single photon via inclusion of various real-world imperfections.
- Demonstrate the utility of information theoretic approach via highly photon-efficient communications.
- Demonstrate the utility of information theoretic approach via improved low-light level imaging.
- Demonstrate the benefit of orbital angular momentum for communications applications.
- Evaluate the information capacity of candidate ghost imaging systems.
- Characterize surfaces of constant performance in the space of camera cost factors including optics, focal planes, and computation.
- Study the fundamental limits of wafer scale optical fabrication and the capabilities of in situ 3-D optical metrology.
- Develop a collection of candidate computational camera designs that yield high performance and low size, weight and power.

FY 2013 Plans:
- Demonstrate classical optical communications with an information rate of 10 bits per photon.
- Demonstrate quantum mechanically secure communications at a secure key information rate of 10 bits per photon.
- Demonstrate novel technologies for encoding and decoding orbital angular momentum.
- Demonstrate low-light level imaging at an information rate of 5 bits per photon.


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