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Whether peering back to the beginning of our universe, winning wars, or looking deep inside the human body at dangerous tumors, radar technology has been a reliable extension of human vision for decades. And at 80-years old, thanks to quantum physics, it's about to get even more precise.

Using a supercooled refrigerator and entangled quantum photons, a team of international researchers has designed a proof-of-concept radar that would be more sensitive and less invasive than today's typical models, especially in "noisy" thermal environments. The process is called "microwave quantum illumination."

The researchers say that this could spell big improvements down the road for ultra-low power and sensitive scanners, especially those used for human health. While radar may not be as associated with medical uses as stethoscopes, the technology is used to monitor conditions associated with some of the most deadly diseases in the U.S., including heartbeats, detect strokes, and even identify cancerous tumors. Helping to identify tumor growth alone could improve the lives of nearly 600,000 patients who die each year in the U.S. from cancer.

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Category: Science