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TECH SPACE
More reliable way to produce single photons for quantum information imprinting
by Staff Writers
Bath, UK (SPX) Nov 29, 2016


This fiber, termed a photonics bandage fiber, is formed by stacking rods of germanium doped silica in a hexagonal pattern but replacing the very center rod with just silica to form the core of the fiber. This microstructure allows only light with a wavelength within a certain range to propagate with low loss in the core, effectively acting as a filter for those wavelengths that lie outside of this range. This photograph has been taken by illuminating a piece of the preform under a white light microscope, the colorful patterns arise because of the germanium doped silica guiding the white light through the structure. Image courtesy University of Bath, Centre for Photonics and Photonic Materials.

Physicists at the University of Bath have developed a technique to more reliably produce single photons that can be imprinted with quantum information. The invention will benefit a variety of processes which rely on photons to carry quantum information, such as quantum computing, secure quantum communication and precision measurements at low light levels.

Photons, particles of light, can be imprinted with information to be used for things like carrying out calculations and transmitting messages. To do this you need to create individual photons, which is a complicated and difficult process.

However researchers from the Centre for Photonics and Photonic Materials have implemented a new way to improve the performance of single-photon sources using fibre-optics and fast optical switches.

They combined several individual sources of photons using optical switches, a technique called multiplexing, using fibre optics fabricated at the University. The resulting device not only makes generating single photons more reliable but also allows control of properties of the photons created, including their colour.

Dr Robert Francis-Jones, from the Centre for Photonics and Photonic Materials, said: "Developing improved sources of single photons is one of the most pressing issues in quantum information processing. Through this research we hope to accelerate the transition of quantum-enhanced technologies from the lab to applications such as drug discovery."

The study is published in the journal Optica.


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