Radar has been the way to spot enemy aircraft zooming across the sky for decades, but (un)fortunately, it doesn’t always work. If you’ve got the right tech, you can fool it. A new kind developed by researchers at the University of Rochester however, dips into quantum physics and is unjammable and infallible.
There are a couple of ways to fool radar. First you can just drop a bunch of chaff to generate a whole bunch of noise, or you can take the more technologically complicated route and intercept the radar signal, modify it, and send back false information that looks real. It’s that second tactic quantum radars are most interested in foiling.
Essentially this system uses polarised photons to detect and image objects meaning that if someone tried to intercept these photons and send them back, their polarization would be changed; there’s no way to look at the signal without everyone knowing. And it’s not only that you know; the interference is easy to spot and throw out, resulting in a clean image.
So far the system still has its kinks that need to be worked out, but much like quantum cryptography, it promises a layer or theoretical security unlike anything we have now. Get ready for a quantum future, where everyone can see you see them. [MIT Technology Review via Engadget]