Professor proposes challenge to prove whether people can see entangled images

Feb 29, 2012 by Bob Yirka report
a) Spontaneous parametric down conversion: A photon from a laser beam excites a nonlinear medium (usually a crystal) to a virtual level that decays spontaneously into two possible paths. Either an identical laser photon is created or a pair of photons appear. Their energy adds up to the energy of the laser photon. Photons from all colors (wavelengths) can be obtained. b) The photon pairs follow directions given by linear momentum conservation. F designate an optical interference fi lter. Image: Geraldo A. Barbosa, arXiv:1202.5434v1 [q-bio.NC]

( -- Geraldo Barbosa, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Northwestern University has posed an interesting challenge. He wonders if the human eye and brain together are capable of actually seeing entangled images. This is not a philosophical question, as he has phrased the query as part of a practical experiment that someone with the proper lab could actually carry out. To that end, he’s posted a paper on the preprint server arXiv with the hope that a physics team will take up the challenge.

The whole idea is based on entanglement and the means by which researchers make it come about. What they do is shoot a laser at a non-linear crystal causing the photons in the beam to be converted into lower frequency entangled pairs. Those pairs are then directed to sensors which individually are able to measure a fuzzy or blurred “image”. But when both of the entangled photons are taken together as a single measurement, the image sharpens. These images are of course far too small for the to see, plus they don’t last long enough for them to be seen anyway. To address these issues, researchers have taken to firing lasers that are formed into patterns such as a doughnut shape in a continuous sequence. The result is a steady stream of entangled pairs being created in the shape of a doughnut.

Barbosa wants to know what would happen if instead of forming a doughnut shape, the lasers were made to look like a letter in the alphabet, such as the letter A, and then of course if it were made large enough to be seen by the human eye. Two entangled letter As should be created and seeable albeit in a lower frequency. If that happened, would the human eye when paired with the brain’s abilities, be able to merge the two into a sharp readable image, or would we see just the individual blurred images captured by just one sensor?

Barbosa doesn’t know, and neither does anyone else, thus he suggests someone or some group build an experiment to find out.

The ability to see things differently than we are accustomed to seeing isn’t anything new of course. Some animals can see things in the infrared spectrum for example and evidence has been slowly emerging as described here, here and here, suggesting that some migrating birds are able to “see” the Earth’s magnetic field. So maybe it’s possible that we see entangled images every day, and just don’t know it.

Hopefully someone will take Barbosa up on his challenge, and then we’ll all find out if it’s possible or not.

Explore further: And so they beat on, flagella against the cantilever

More information: Can humans see beyond intensity images? by Geraldo A. Barbosa, arXiv:1202.5434v1 [q-bio.NC]

The human's visual system detect intensity images. Quite interesting, detector systems have shown the existence of different kind of images. Among them, images obtained by two detectors (detector array or spatially scanning detector) capturing signals within short window times may reveal a "hidden" image not contained in either isolated detector: Information on this image depend on the two detectors simultaneously. In general, they are called "high-order" images because they may depend on more than two electric fields. Intensity images depend on the square of magnitude of the light's electric field. Can the human visual sensory system perceive high-order images as well? This paper proposes a way to test this idea. A positive answer could give new insights on the "visual-conscience" machinery, opening a new sensory channel for humans. Applications could be devised, e.g., head position sensing, privacy in communications at visual ranges and many others.

via ArXiv blog

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5 / 5 (1) Feb 29, 2012
Can we make an "Entangled Accelerometer" by splitting a laser into multiple axis, diagonal, and triagonal beams, thus "squeezing" the state of the photons?

Ideally, you'd want one beam on each axis, one beam on each diagonal, and at least one triagonal beam, all from the same source, entangled. this way, the red or blue shift in one beam would be entangled with the red or blue shift in another, allowing extreme precision in determining the exact vector of acceleration.

This wouldn't detect linear acceleration, but rather instantaneous acceleration, such as in collisions, etc.

By measuring the difference in red or blue shift on each beam, you could determine acceleration, but not only that, you could use a squeeze method, involving trigonometry or Pythagorean theorem, to reduce the margin of error in each of the measurements.

The accelerometers I've seen seem to use classical physics.
not rated yet Feb 29, 2012
Aren't there magic tricks out there that already use this principle to create 3-D images? It sounds like a randomized form of autostereoscopy:


1 / 5 (2) Mar 01, 2012
Are we not held hostage to our internal mental states depending on inherent/inborn/genetic adaptive abilities as far as physical environments and perceptions (senses) are concerned?

For example, no object you see on earth will appear to have the same colors all other human beings on earth 'experience', 'see' and agree upon, if you are born and raised on Mars and visit earth later.

You will need 'adaptive optics' to experience what all other humans are subjected to color-wise from their existence on earth.
(Or 're-label' the colors your senses 'imprinted' upon you on Mars)

QM asserts objectivity. Our senses and minds lack the states of 'objectivity' QM asserts to possess. We will 'see' the sum of WHERE our experiences and existences were acquired.

QM will assert the physics of this never changes.

5 / 5 (1) Mar 01, 2012
Not sure about the magic tricks and autostereoscopy... what I gathered from it is that one beam has a certain amount of info to make a blurry image, kinda like a progressive-scanned jpg downloading... the 2nd beam carries more information about the image that can be, I guess in this case, entagled where the information is additive, and while by itself, is also blurry, together they have enough information to form a sharper image... The question is whether or not our brains and eyes can take both images and interpolate the sharper image given the two blurry ones.
not rated yet Mar 02, 2012
Ricochet, that's exactly what autostereoscopy is and it's what makes glasses-free 3-D TV possible. What I believe the entanglement would do is randomize which image goes to which eye instead of having the same fuzzy image always go to the same eye.

The more I think about it, the more I realize it'll be a fantastic experiment for the brain. I've always been fascinated with how the brain can filter out extraneous information (or add missing information) to try and provide us with something we can understand