"Those guys just don't accept this approach," he said, citing some of the field's better-known names. "They don't like [quantum theory] because we don't really know how some of it works. But it does work. One day everyone will accept this [model]."

Karmakar has made a splash at several professional conferences, including this year's SPIE convention, which was held at the Baltimore Convention Center in April. (SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, is dedicated to advancing light-based technologies.)

"His talk was the most important one," said Juan F. Ospina, a professor of mathematical physics at EAFIT University in Medellin, Colombia. "Applying quantum theory to engineering problems is still seen as controversial, but experiments like Dr. Sanjit's are changing minds."

Count Meyers as a believer. Karmakar already works for him at the Army Research Lab as part of an agreement between the Army and UMBC, and hopes to continue his research with the Army after he becomes a citizen.

"I can't tell you everything Sanjit [is] working on, of course," Meyers said. "But he has done good research in an area that is very interesting."


What is Ghost Imaging?

GHOST IMAGING: A form of picture-taking in which the camera need not directly "see" its object – and which uses quantum physics to compute a final image.

ADVANTAGES: With sunlight ghost imaging, scientists can theoretically take pictures from thousands of miles, through smoke, clouds and heat, and without using a lens.

IMAGE QUALITY: For a digital camera to attain the same resolution a sunlight ghost-imaging camera gets from 10 km away, it would need a lens 92 meters wide.

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