We present the first experimental demonstration of quantum enhanced detection at X-ray wavelengths. We show that X-ray pairs that are generated by spontaneous down-conversion can be used for the generation of heralded X-ray photons and directly measure the sub-Poissonian statistics of the single photons by using photon number resolving detectors. We utilize the properties of the strong time-energy correlations of the down-converted photons to demonstrate the ability to improve the visibility and the signal-to-noise ratio of an image with a small number of photons in an environment with a noise level that is higher than the signal by many orders of magnitude. A long-term goal of this work is to demonstrate X-ray photon entanglement. However, given the technical challenges, which are much greater than in the visible regime, we take a first step in demonstrating nonclassical (sub-Poisson) photon correlations. In our work, we demonstrate a new protocol for the measurement of quantum effects with x rays using advantages such as background-free measurements that the X-ray regime offers for experiments aiming at testing fundamental concepts in quantum optics.
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© 2019 authors. Published by the American Physical Society.