Photon quantum entanglement in the MeV regime and its application in PET imaging

D. P. Watts*, J. Bordes, J. R. Brown, A. Cherlin, R. Newton, J. Allison, M. Bashkanov, N. Efthimiou, N. A. Zachariou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a widely-used imaging modality for medical research and clinical diagnosis. Imaging of the radiotracer is obtained from the detected hit positions of the two positron annihilation photons in a detector array. The image is degraded by backgrounds from random coincidences and in-patient scatter events which require correction. In addition to the geometric information, the two annihilation photons are predicted to be produced in a quantum-entangled state, resulting in enhanced correlations between their subsequent interaction processes. To explore this, the predicted entanglement in linear polarisation for the two photons was incorporated into a simulation and tested by comparison with experimental data from a cadmium zinc telluride (CZT) PET demonstrator apparatus. Adapted apparati also enabled correlation measurements where one of the photons had undergone a prior scatter process. We show that the entangled simulation describes the measured correlations and, through simulation of a larger preclinical PET scanner, illustrate a simple method to quantify and remove the unwanted backgrounds in PET using the quantum entanglement information alone.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2646
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge input from D. Jenkins to the manuscript. Simulation work was undertaken on the Viking Cluster, which is a high performance computing facility provided by the University of York. We are grateful for computational support from the University of York High Performance Computing service, Viking and the Research Computing team. The work has been supported by funding from Innovate UK EP/ P034276/1 and the UK Science and technology Facilities Council (STFC) ST/K002937/1

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

Cite this