PerspectiveQUANTUM OPTICS

When quantum optics meets topology

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Science  09 Feb 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6376, pp. 638-639
DOI: 10.1126/science.aar7396

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Summary

Routing photons at the micrometer scale remains one of the greatest challenges of integrated quantum optics. The main difficulty is the scattering losses at bends and splitters in the photonic circuit. Current approaches imply elaborate designs, quite sensitive to fabrication details (1). Inspired by the physics underlying the one-way transport of electrons in topological insulators, on page 666 of this issue, Barik et al. (2) report a topological photonic crystal in which single photons are emitted and routed through bends with negligible loss. The marriage between quantum optics and topology promises new opportunities for compact quantum optics gating and manipulation.