A topological quantum optics interface

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Science  09 Feb 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6376, pp. 666-668
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaq0327

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Connecting quantum emitters

Exploiting topological properties of a system allows certain properties to be protected against the disorder and scattering caused by defects. Barik et al. demonstrate a strong light-matter interaction in a topological photonic structure (see the Perspective by Amo). They created topological edge states at the interface between two photonic, topologically distinct regions and coupled them to a single quantum emitter. The chiral nature of single-photon emission was used to inject single photons of opposite polarization into counterpropagating topological edge states. Such a topological quantum optics interface may provide a powerful platform for developing robust integrated quantum optical circuits.

Science, this issue p. 666; see also p. 638


The application of topology in optics has led to a new paradigm in developing photonic devices with robust properties against disorder. Although considerable progress on topological phenomena has been achieved in the classical domain, the realization of strong light-matter coupling in the quantum domain remains unexplored. We demonstrate a strong interface between single quantum emitters and topological photonic states. Our approach creates robust counterpropagating edge states at the boundary of two distinct topological photonic crystals. We demonstrate the chiral emission of a quantum emitter into these modes and establish their robustness against sharp bends. This approach may enable the development of quantum optics devices with built-in protection, with potential applications in quantum simulation and sensing.

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