Quantum Positioning System

Thomas B. Bahder

Abstract: A quantum positioning system (QPS) is proposed that can provide a user with all four of his space-time coordinates. The user must carry a corner cube reflector, a good clock, and have a two-way classical channel of communication with the origin of the reference frame. Four pairs of entangled photons (biphotons) are sent through four interferometers: three interferometers are used to determine the user’s spatial position, and an additional interferometer is used to synchronize the user’s clock to coordinate time in the reference frame. The spatial positioning part of the QPS is similar to a classical time-of-arrival (TOA) system; however, a classical TOA system (such as GPS) must have synchronized clocks that keep coordinate time and, therefore, the clocks must have long-term stability, whereas in the QPS only a photon coincidence counter is needed and the clocks need only have short-term stability. Several scenarios are considered for a QPS: one is a terrestrial system and another is a space-based system composed of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. Calculations indicate that for a space-based system, neglecting atmospheric effects, a position accuracy below the 1 cm level is possible for much of the region near the Earth. The QPS may be used as a primary system to define a global four-dimensional reference frame.
Published in: Proceedings of the 36th Annual Precise Time and Time Interval Systems and Applications Meeting
December 7 - 9, 2004
Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
Washington, D.C.
Pages: 53 - 76
Cite this article: Bahder, Thomas B., "Quantum Positioning System," Proceedings of the 36th Annual Precise Time and Time Interval Systems and Applications Meeting, Washington, D.C., December 2004, pp. 53-76.
Full Paper: ION Members/Non-Members: 1 Download Credit
Sign In