Generally speaking, when we hear of ghosts caught on film, we tend to think of small orbs or even a smudged-figure so ominously present in the corner of a photo. But in quantum optics, ghost imaging is of a different matter.

Unfortunately, we are not talking about photos of our recently deceased, but in a topic almost as interesting, we are talking about a camera that can take photos of objects without having to rely on bouncing light. Normal cameras take photos of the actual light bouncing off of an object and record this to film, or its photosensitive plate if it were a digital camera, but this camera operates differently. It relies on a theory called quantum entanglement to take photos of objects by recording the photons with a quantum link to others that did bounce off of it.


Quantum entanglement is the theory of objects have an instantaneous link no matter how far apart the objects may be. Scientists still have varying theories on just how this works so that no clear explanation can be given.

This quantum camera uses two laser beams that are connected by quantum entanglement. One beam hits the object, the other beam that does not hit the object is recorded. The object is still recorded well.

In this picture, a toy soldier was imaged by a quantum camera that took the image without any light that was reflected from the toy itself.

Many scientists claim that this could be a break-through for imaging. Instead of relying on thermal optics, quantum optics could be used in place, giving the military a great advantage at night or during intense smoke. Using the sun’s seemingly-never ending source of photons, quantum optics could stretch into the solar system, bringing hidden objects to life for researchers.

Some scientists are still not convinced that this is the work of quantum effects. Baris Erkmen and Jeffrey Shapiro claim that “light sources produce numbers of uncoordinated photons that are not correlated… They suspect ghost images might be produced without a quantum link between photon pairs, purely because some photons are just similar.”

This article (New ‘Quantum Camera’ Takes Chilling Photographs Of ‘Real Ghosts’) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with full attribution and a link to the original source on