Deterministic quantum interactions between single photons and single quantum emitters are a vital building block towards the distribution of quantum information between remote systems1–4. Deterministic photon–atom state transfer has previously been demonstrated with protocols that include active feedback or synchronized control pulses5–10. Here we demonstrate a passive swap operation between the states of a single photon and a single atom. The underlying mechanism is single-photon Raman interaction11–15—an interference-based scheme that leads to deterministic interaction between two photonic modes and the two ground states of a Λ-system. Using a nanofibre-coupled microsphere resonator coupled to single Rb atoms, we swap a photonic qubit into the atom and back, demonstrating fidelities exceeding the classical threshold of 2/3 in both directions. In this simultaneous write and read process, the returning photon, which carries the readout of the atomic qubit, also heralds the successful arrival of the write photon. Requiring no control fields, this single-step gate takes place automatically at the timescale of the atom’s cavity-enhanced spontaneous emission. Applicable to any waveguide-coupled Λ-system, this mechanism, which can also be harnessed to construct universal gates16,17, provides a versatile building block for the modular scaling up of quantum information systems.
The long-standing goal of deterministic quantum interactions between single photons and single atoms was recently realized in various experiments. Among these, an appealing demonstration relied on single-photon Raman interaction (SPRINT) in a three-level atom coupled to a single-mode waveguide. In essence, the interference-based process of SPRINT deterministically swaps the qubits encoded in a single photon and a single atom, without the need for additional control pulses. It can also be harnessed to construct passive entangling quantum gates, and can therefore form the basis for scalable quantum networks in which communication between the nodes is carried out only by single-photon pulses. Here we present an analytical and numerical study of SPRINT, characterizing its limitations and defining parameters for its optimal operation. Specifically, we study the effect of losses, imperfect polarization, and the presence of multiple excited states. In all cases we discuss strategies for restoring the operation of SPRINT.
Removing a single photon from a pulse is one of the most elementary operations that can be performed on light, having both fundamental significance(1,2) and practical applications in quantum communication(3-9) and computation(10). So far, photon subtraction, in which the removed photon is detected and therefore irreversibly lost, has been implemented in a probabilistic manner with inherently low success rates using low-reflectivity beam splitters(1). Here we demonstrate a scheme for the deterministic extraction of a single photon from an incoming pulse. The removed photon is diverted to a different mode, enabling its use for other purposes, such as a photon number-splitting attack on quantum key distribution protocols(11). Our implementation makes use of single-photon Raman interaction (SPRINT)(12,13) with a single atom near a nanofibre-coupled microresonator. The single-photon extraction probability in our current realization is limited mostly by linear loss, yet probabilities close to unity should be attainable with realistic experimental parameters(13).
We demonstrate a passive scheme for deterministic interactions between a single photon and a single atom. Relying on single-photon Raman interaction (SPRINT), this control-fields free scheme swaps a flying qubit, encoded in the two possible input modes of a photon, with a stationary qubit, encoded in the two ground states of the atom, and can be also harnessed to perform universal quantum gates. Using SPRINT we experimentally demonstrated all-optical switching of single photons by single photons, and deterministic extraction of a single photon from an optical pulse. Applicable to any atom-like Lambda system, SPRINT provides a versatile building block for scalable quantum networks based on completely passive nodes interconnected and activated solely by single photons.
Spectroscopy of whispering-gallery mode microresonators has become a powerful scientific tool, enabling the detection of single viruses, nanoparticles and even single molecules. Yet the demonstrated timescale of these schemes has been limited so far to milliseconds or more. Here we introduce a scheme that is orders of magnitude faster, capable of capturing complete spectral snapshots at nanosecond timescales-cavity ring-up spectroscopy. Based on sharply rising detuned probe pulses, cavity ring-up spectroscopy combines the sensitivity of heterodyne measurements with the highest-possible, transform-limited acquisition rate. As a demonstration, we capture spectra of microtoroid resonators at time intervals as short as 16 ns, directly monitoring submicrosecond dynamics of their optomechanical vibrations, thermorefractive response and Kerr nonlinearity. Cavity ring-up spectroscopy holds promise for the study of fast biological processes such as enzyme kinetics, protein folding and light harvesting, with applications in other fields such as cavity quantum electrodynamics and pulsed optomechanics.
The prospect of quantum networks, in which quantum information is carried by single photons in photonic circuits, has long been the driving force behind the effort to achieve all-optical routing of single photons. We realized a single-photon-activated switch capable of routing a photon from any of its two inputs to any of its two outputs. Our device is based on a single atom coupled to a fiber-coupled, chip-based microresonator. A single reflected control photon toggles the switch from high reflection (R similar to 65%) to high transmission (T similar to 90%), with an average of similar to 1.5 control photons per switching event (similar to 3, including linear losses). No additional control fields are required. The control and target photons are both in-fiber and practically identical, making this scheme compatible with scalable architectures for quantum information processing.
We experimentally demonstrate first-order (fold) and second-order (cusp) catastrophes in the density of an atomic cloud reflected from an optical barrier in the presence of gravity and show their corresponding universal asymptotic behavior. These catastrophes, arising from classical dynamics, enable robust, field-free refocusing of an expanding atomic cloud with a wide velocity distribution. Specifically, the density attained at the cusp point in our experiment reached 65% of the peak density of the atoms in the trap prior to their release. We thereby add caustics to the various phenomena with parallels in optics that can be harnessed for manipulation of cold atoms. The structural stability of catastrophes provides inherent robustness against variations in the system's dynamics and initial conditions, making them suitable for manipulation of atoms under imperfect conditions and limited controllability.
In a recent Letter, Brunner and Simon proposed an interferometric scheme using imaginary weak values with a frequency-domain analysis to outperform standard interferometry in longitudinal phase shifts [Phys. Rev. Lett 105, 010405 (2010)]. Here we demonstrate an interferometric scheme combined with a time-domain analysis to measure longitudinal velocities. The technique employs the near-destructive interference of non-Fourier limited pulses, one Doppler shifted due to a moving mirror in a Michelson interferometer. We achieve a velocity measurement of 400 fm/s and show our estimator to be efficient by reaching its Cramer-Rao bound. (C) 2013 Optical Society of America
We demonstrate a new type of weak measurement based on the dynamics of spontaneous emission. The pointer in our scheme is given by the Lorentzian distribution characterizing atomic exponential decay via emission of a single photon. We thus introduce weak measurement, so far demonstrated nearly exclusively with laser beams and Gaussian statistics, into the quantum regime of single emitters and single quanta, enabling the exploitation of a wide class of sources that are abundant in nature. We describe a complete analogy between our scheme and weak measurement with conventional Gaussian pointers. Instead of a shift in the mean of a Gaussian distribution, an imaginary weak value is exhibited in our scheme by a significantly slower-than-natural exponential distribution of emitted photons at the postselected polarization, leading to a large shift in their mean arrival time. The dynamics of spontaneous emission offer a broader view of the measurement process than is usually considered within the weak measurement formalism. Our scheme opens the path for the use of atoms and atomlike systems as sensitive probes in weak measurements, one example being optical magnetometry.
The most simple and seemingly straightforward application of the photon blockade effect, in which the transport of one photon prevents the transport of others, would be to separate two incoming indistinguishable photons to different output ports. We show that time-energy uncertainty relations inherently prevent this ideal situation when the blockade is implemented by a two-level system. The fundamental nature of this limit is revealed in the fact that photon blockade in the strong coupling regime of cavity QED, resulting from the nonlinearity of the Jaynes-Cummings energy level structure, exhibits efficiency and temporal behavior identical to those of photon blockade in the bad cavity regime, where the underlying nonlinearity is that of the atom itself. We demonstrate that this limit can be exceeded, yet not avoided, by exploiting time-energy entanglement between the incident photons. Finally, we show how this limit can be circumvented completely by using a three-level atom coupled to a single-sided cavity, enabling an ideal and robust photon routing mechanism.
Single photons from a coherent input are efficiently redirected to a separate output by way of a fiber-coupled microtoroidal cavity interacting with individual cesium atoms. By operating in an overcoupled regime for the input-output to a tapered fiber, our system functions as a quantum router with high efficiency for photon sorting. Single photons are reflected and excess photons transmitted, as confirmed by observations of photon antibunching (bunching) for the reflected (transmitted) light. Our photon router is robust against large variations of atomic position and input power, with the observed photon antibunching persisting for intracavity photon number 0.03 less than or similar to(n)over bar less than or similar to 0.7.
We demonstrate robust and efficient routing of single photons using a microtoroidal cavity QED system. Single photons from a coherent input are sorted to one output of the fiber with excess photons redirected to the other.
We demonstrate robust and efficient routing of single photons using a microtoroidal cavity QED system. Single photons from a coherent input are sorted to one output of the fiber with excess photons redirected to the other. (C)2009 Optical Society of America,
Beyond traditional nonlinear optics with large numbers of atoms and photons, qualitatively new phenomena arise in a quantum regime of strong interactions between single atoms and photons. By using a microscopic optical resonator, we achieved such interactions and demonstrated a robust, efficient mechanism for the regulated transport of photons one by one. With critical coupling of the input light, a single atom within the resonator dynamically controls the cavity output conditioned on the photon number at the input, thereby functioning as a photon turnstile. We verified the transformation from a Poissonian to a sub- Poissonian photon stream by photon counting measurements of the input and output fields. The results have applications in quantum information science, including for controlled interactions of single light quanta and for scalable quantum processing on atom chips.
When two-photon interactions are induced by down-converted light with a bandwidth that exceeds the pump bandwidth, they can obtain a behavior that is pulselike temporally, yet spectrally narrow. At low photon fluxes this behavior reflects the time and energy entanglement between the down-converted photons. However, two-photon interactions such as two-photon absorption (TPA) and sum-frequency generation (SFG) can exhibit such a behavior even at high power levels, as long as the final state (i.e., the atomic level in TPA, or the generated light in SFG) is narrow-band enough. This behavior does not depend on the squeezing properties of the light, is insensitive to linear losses, and has potential applications. In this paper we describe analytically this behavior for traveling-wave down conversion with continuous or pulsed pumping, both for high- and low-power regimes. For this we derive a quantum-mechanical expression for the down-converted amplitude generated by an arbitrary pump, and formulate operators that represent various two-photon interactions induced by broadband light. This model is in excellent agreement with experimental results of TPA and SFG with high-power down-converted light and with entangled photons.
We describe a novel non-linear detection method for optical tomography that does not rely on detection of interference fringes and is free of optical background. The method exploits temporally coherent broadband illumination such as ultrashort pulses, and a non-linear two-photon detection process such as sum-frequency generation (SFG). At the detection stage, the reference beam and the sample beam are mixed in a thick non-linear crystal, and only the mixing term, which is free of optical background, is detected. Consequently, the noise limitations posed by the background in standard OCT (excess and shot noise), do not exist here. Due to the non-linearity, the signal to noise ratio scales more favorably with the optical power compared to standard OCT, yielding an inherent improvement for high speed tomographic scans. Careful design of phase matching in the crystal enables non-linear mixing which is both highly efficient and broadband, yielding both high sensitivity and high depth resolution. (c) 2007 Optical Society of America.
We demonstrate a scheme to spectrally manipulate a collinear, continuous stream of time and energy entangled photons to generate beamlike, bandwidth-limited fluxes of polarization-entangled photons with nearly degenerate wavelengths. Utilizing an ultrashort-pulse shaper to control the spectral phase and polarization of the photon pairs, we tailor the shape of the Hong-Ou-Mandel interference pattern, demonstrating the rules that govern the dependence of this interference pattern on the spectral phases of the photons. We then use the pulse shaper to generate all four polarization Bell states. The singlet state generated by this scheme forms a very robust decoherence-free subspace, extremely suitable for long-distance fiber-optics-based quantum communication.
We present the design and experimental proof of principle of a low threshold optical parametric oscillator (OPO) that continuously oscillates over a large bandwidth allowed by phase matching. The large oscillation bandwidth is achieved with a selective two-photon loss that suppresses the inherent mode competition, which tends to narrow the bandwidth in conventional OPOs. Our design performs pairwise mode locking of many frequency pairs, in direct equivalence to passive mode locking of ultrashort pulsed lasers. The ability to obtain high powers of continuous and broadband down-converted light enables the optimal exploitation of the correlations within the down-converted spectrum, thereby strongly affecting two-photon interactions even at classically high power levels, and opening new venues for applications such as two-photon spectroscopy and microscopy and optical spread spectrum communication.
Over the past decade, strong interactions of light and matter at the single-photon level have enabled a wide set of scientific advances in quantum optics and quantum information science. This work has been performed principally within the setting of cavity quantum electrodynamics(1-4) with diverse physical systems(5), including single atoms in Fabry-Perot resonators(1,6), quantum dots coupled to micropillars and photonic bandgap cavities(7,8) and Cooper pairs interacting with superconducting resonators(9,10). Experiments with single, localized atoms have been at the forefront of these advances(11-15) with the use of optical resonators in high-finesse Fabry-Perot configurations(16). As a result of the extreme technical challenges involved in further improving the multilayer dielectric mirror coatings(17) of these resonators and in scaling to large numbers of devices, there has been increased interest in the development of alternative microcavity systems(5). Here we show strong coupling between individual caesium atoms and the fields of a high-quality toroidal microresonator. From observations of transit events for single atoms falling through the resonator's evanescent field, we determine the coherent coupling rate for interactions near the surface of the resonator. We develop a theoretical model to quantify our observations, demonstrating that strong coupling is achieved, with the rate of coherent coupling exceeding the dissipative rates of the atom and the cavity. Our work opens the way for investigations of optical processes with single atoms and photons in lithographically fabricated microresonators. Applications include the implementation of quantum networks(18,19), scalable quantum logic with photons(20), and quantum information processing on atom chips(21).
We experimentally demonstrate sum-frequency generation with entangled photon pairs, generating as many as 40 000 photons per second, visible even to the naked eye. The nonclassical nature of the interaction is exhibited by a linear intensity dependence of the nonlinear process. The key element in our scheme is the generation of an ultrahigh flux of entangled photons while maintaining their nonclassical properties. This is made possible by generating the down-converted photons as broadband as possible, orders of magnitude wider than the pump. This approach can be applied to other nonlinear interactions, and may become useful for various quantum-measurement tasks.
We experimentally demonstrate shaping of the two-photon wave function of entangled-photon pairs, utilizing coherent pulse-shaping techniques. By performing spectral-phase manipulations we tailor the second-order correlation function of the photons exactly like a coherent ultrashort pulse. To observe the shaping we perform sum-frequency generation with an ultrahigh flux of entangled photons. At the appropriate conditions, sum-frequency generation performs as a coincidence detector with an ultrashort response time (similar to100 fs), enabling a direct observation of the two-photon wave function. This property also enables us to demonstrate background-free, high-visibility two-photon interference oscillations.
The smallest spot in optical lithography and microscopy is generally limited by diffraction. Quantum lithography, which utilizes interference between groups of N entangled photons, was recently proposed to beat the diffraction limit by a factor N. Here we propose a simple method to obtain N photons interference with classical pulses that excite a narrow multiphoton transition, thus shifting the "quantum weight" from the electromagnetic field to the lithographic material. We show how a practical complete lithographic scheme can be developed and demonstrate the underlying principles experimentally by two-photon interference in atomic Rubidium, to obtain focal spots that beat the diffraction limit by a factor of 2. (C) 2004 Optical Society of America.
We experimentally demonstrate two-photon absorption with broadband down-converted light (squeezed vacuum). Although incoherent and exhibiting the statistics of a thermal noise, broadband down-converted light can induce two-photon absorption with the same sharp temporal behavior as femtosecond pulses, while exhibiting the high spectral resolution of the narrow band pump laser. Using pulse-shaping methods, we coherently control two-photon absorption in rubidium, demonstrating spectral and temporal resolutions that are 3-5 orders of magnitude below the actual bandwidth and temporal duration of the light itself. Such properties can be exploited in various applications such as spread-spectrum optical communications, tomography, and nonlinear microscopy.
A novel approach for an optical direct-sequence spread spectrum is presented. It is based on the complementary processes of broad-band parametric down-conversion and up-conversion. With parametric down-conversion, a narrow-band continuous-wave (CW) optical field is transformed into two CW broad-band white-noise fields that are complex conjugates of each other. These noise fields are exploited as the key and conjugate key in optical direct-sequence spread spectrum. The inverse process of parametric up-conversion is then used for multiplying the key by the conjugate key at the receiver in order to extract the transmitted data. A complete scheme for optical code-division multiple access (OCDMA) based on this approach is presented. The salient feature of the approach presented in this paper is that an ideal white-noise key is automatically generated, leading to high-capacity versatile code-division multiple-access configurations.
Maximizing nonlinear light-matter interactions is a primary motive for compressing laser pulses to achieve ultrashort transform limited pulses. Here we show how, by appropriately shaping the pulses, resonant multiphoton transitions can be enhanced significantly beyond the level achieved by maximizing the pulse's peak intensity. We demonstrate the counterintuitive nature of this effect with an experiment in a resonant two-photon absorption, in which, by selectively removing certain spectral hands, the peak intensity of the pulse is reduced by a factor of 40, yet the absorption rate is doubled. Furthermore, by suitably designing the spectral phase of the pulse, we increase the absorption rate by a factor of 7.