Optical Quantum Information Processing Research Moving Forward
Next-generation single-photon source for quantum information science
Points to note…
+ A key resource to advance research in quantum information science would be a source that could efficiently and reliably produce single photons. However, because quantum processes are inherently random, creating a photon source that produces single photons on demand presents a challenge at every step.
Researchers have built what they believe is ‘the world’s most efficient single-photon source.’ And they are still improving it. With planned upgrades, the apparatus could generate upwards of 30 photons at unprecedented efficiencies. Sources of that caliber are precisely what’s needed for optical quantum information applications.
+ University of Illinois Physics Professor Paul Kwiat and his former postdoctoral researcher Fumihiro Kaneda (now an assistant professor at Frontier Research Institute for Interdisciplinary Sciences at Tohoku University) have built what Kwiat believes is “the world’s most efficient single-photon source.” And they are still improving it. With planned upgrades, the apparatus could generate upwards of 30 photons at unprecedented efficiencies. Sources of that caliber are precisely what’s needed for optical quantum information applications.
+ “The eventual goal is to be able to prepare single pure quantum states that we can use to encode and process information in ways that surpass classical approaches,” Lualdi explains. “That’s why it’s so imperative that these sources produce single photons. If the source unexpectedly generates two photons instead of one, then we don’t have the basic building block that we need.”
+ And in order to be able to perform any kind of meaningful quantum information processing with these photonic qubits, a large supply is needed.
+ As Kwiat puts it, “The field is moving beyond experiments with just one or two photons. People are now trying to do experiments on 10 to 12 photons, and eventually we’d like to have 50 to 100 photons.”
+ Kwiat extrapolates that the improvements being made on this work could pave the way toward the capacity to generate over 30 photons at high efficiencies. Kwiat and Kaneda’s results have moved us one step closer to making optical quantum information processing a reality.
Content may have been edited for style and clarity.