The photon is a fundamental carrier of information, possessing numerous information carrying degrees of freedom including frequency, phase, arrival time, polarization, orbital angular momentum, linear momentum, entanglement, etc. Because optical photons are approximately a million times more costly (i.e., energetic) than their radio frequency counterparts, photons are a valuable resource for many military applications ranging from communications systems to visible and infrared sensing platforms.
The Information in a Photon (InPho) program aims to pursue the basic science and the associated unifying physical and mathematical principles that govern the information capacity of optical photons, exploiting all relevant physical degrees of freedom. Important outcomes of the InPho program include rigorous quantification of photon information content for communications and imaging applications, novel methods to maximize the scene information extracted from received photons in next-generation sensing platforms, and novel methods to maximize the information content of transmitted and received photons in next-generation communication systems.
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