Rydberg Atoms Ryding a Train of Photons

Scientists see train of photons in a new light

In brief…

+  Flashlight beams don’t clash together like lightsabers because individual units of light—photons—generally don’t interact with each other. Two beams don’t even flicker when they cross paths.+ But by using matter as an intermediary, scientists have unlocked a rich world of photon interactions. In these early days of exploring the resulting possibilities, researchers are tackling topics like producing indistinguishable single photons and investigating how even just three photons form into basic molecules of light. The ability to harness these exotic behaviors of light is expected to lead to advances in areas such as quantum computing and precision measurement.

The researchers modified one of their models to capture the important effects of the pollutants without keeping track of every interaction in the larger cloud of atoms. While this simplified model is called a “toy model,” it is really a practical tool that will help researchers push the technique to greater heights in their larger effort to understand photon interactions.

+  Ideally, if this process is efficient and the stream of photons is steady enough, it should produce a stream of individual photons each following just behind the blockade of the previous. But if the laser is not intense enough, it is like a slow day at the waterpark, when there is not always a kid eagerly awaiting their turn. In the new experiment, the researchers focused on what happens when they crowed many photons into the beam.

+  The model helped the researchers explain the behavior of the transmitted light that the older models failed to capture. It also provides a useful way to think about the physics that is preventing an ideal single photon train and might be useful in judging how effectively future experiments prevent the undesirable affects—perhaps by using cloud of atoms with different shapes.

Source:  Nanowerk News.  Bailey Bedford,  Scientists see train of photons in a new light…

Content may have been edited for style and clarity. The “+” to the left of paragraphs or other statements indicates quoted material from “Source:” document. Boldface title is original title from “Source:” Italicized statements are directly quoted from “Source:” document. Image sources are indicated as applicable.