Single photon detected but not destroyed | Science News

Be a Champion for Science

Get your subscription to

Science News when you join.


Single photon detected but not destroyed

First instrument built that can witness the passage of a light particle without absorbing it

2:05pm, November 14, 2013

Physicists have seen a single particle of light and then let it go on its way. The feat was possible thanks to a new technique that, for the first time, detects optical photons without destroying them. The technology could eventually offer perfect detection of photons, providing a boost to quantum communication and even biological imaging.

Plenty of commercially available instruments can identify individual light particles, but these instruments absorb the photons and use the energy to produce an audible click or some other signal of detection.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from this issue of Science News