Physics Colloquium - Prof. David B. Kieda
October 1, 2018 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
University of Utah
Ever since the first astronomical telescope observations made by Galileo (1610), optical astronomy has developed increasingly sophisticated methods for exploring the universe using only the classical (wave-description) properties of light. The quantum mechanical properties of light, including photon bunching and orbital angular momentum, carry substantially more information about the nature of the astronomical sources, yet these properties are currently not exploited.
This talk will describe the development of a new astronomical capability which exploits the quantum properties of light. The technique has the potential to achieve < 100 micro-arc second angular resolution in the optical wavelengths; such high angular resolution would be sufficient to directly imaging the moons of Jupiter passing across the disk of a main sequence star ~8 light years away. We describe a conclusive demonstration of quantum photon bunching (Hanbury Brown-Twiss Interferometry) in the laboratory using simulated stars and binary systems. We describe the design of a future ultra-high resolution optical astronomical imaging observatory using existing and future arrays of Imaging Air Cherenkov Telescopes (IACTs). The talk describes the potential optical imaging resolution of the VERITAS IACT observatory array (Amado, Arizona) and the future CTA IACT Observatory (Canary Islands, Spain and Paranal, Chile).