Researchers at Stevens Institute of Technology have created a chip-based photon source 100 times more efficient than previously possible.
To create photon pairs, researchers trap light in carefully sculpted nanoscale microcavities; as light circulates in the cavity, its photons resonate and split into entangled pairs. But there’s a catch: at present, such systems are extremely inefficient, requiring a torrent of incoming laser light comprising hundreds of millions of photons before a single entangled photon pair will grudgingly drip out at the other end.
The team has now developed a new chip-based photon source that’s 100 times more efficient than any previous device, allowing the creation of tens of millions of entangled photon pairs per second from a single microwatt-powered laser beam.
By fine-tuning additional factors such as temperature, the team was able to create an unprecedentedly bright source of entangled photon pairs. In practice, that allows photon pairs to be produced in far greater quantities for a given amount of incoming light, dramatically reducing the energy needed to power quantum components.
The team is already working on ways to further refine their process, and say they expect to soon attain the true Holy Grail of quantum optics: a system with that can turn a single incoming photon into an entangled pair of outgoing photons, with virtually no waste energy along the way. (ScitechDaily)
The paper has been published in Physical Review Letters.