Counterfactual Ghost Imaging

Jonte Hance*, John Rarity

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
63 Downloads (Pure)


We give a protocol for ghost imaging in a way that is always counterfactual—while imaging an object, no light interacts with that object. This extends the idea of counterfactuality beyond communication, showing how this interesting phenomenon can be leveraged for metrology. Given, in the infinite limit, no photons ever go to the imaged object, it presents a method of imaging even the most light-sensitive of objects without damaging them. Even when not in the infinite limit, it still provides a many-fold improvement in visibility and signal-to-noise ratio over previous protocols, with over an order of magnitude reduction in absorbed intensity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number88
Number of pages7
Journalnpj Quantum Information
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Hatim Salih, Alex McMillan and Will McCutcheon for useful discussions. This work was supported by the University of York’s EPSRC DTP grant EP/R513386/1, and the Quantum Communications Hub funded by the EPSRC grant EP/M013472/1.

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

Structured keywords

  • QETLabs
  • Bristol Quantum Information Institute
  • Photonics and Quantum


  • quant-ph


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