A New Quantum Age: Scientists Now Have a Reliable Way to Create Single Photons

This is key to better quantum experiments.

11. 29. 16 by Jelor Gallego
University of Bath
Image by University of Bath

Quantum physics experiments have always been limited by how efficiently researchers can create necessary minute particles called photons. Now, new research from the Centre for Photonics and Photonic Materials shows a new, more reliable, method for creating single photons.

In a paper published in Optica, the researchers detail how they improved on the current method by multiplexing. They combined several single photon sources together using optical switches, with the use of fiber optics. The resulting device not only makes generating more reliable but also allows control of properties of the photons created, including their color.

Photons, one of the bedrocks of quantum experiments, can carry information and transmit messages. In quantum entanglement, two photons become twins, each changing quantum state when the other does.

That’s why photons have been central to fields like quantum communication and quantum information processing. Entanglement allows for quantum information transfer even with several kilometers of distance. It also plays a role in quantum cryptography since the mere act of measuring one of the entangled photons changes its properties.

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The new innovation will benefit a variety of processes which rely on photons to carry quantum information. These include quantum computing and secure quantum communication.


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