QUANTUM OPTICS

Single photons for optic fibers

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Science  13 Jul 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6398, pp. 142-143
DOI: 10.1126/science.361.6398.142-d

Schematic illustration of silicon waveguides and a YSO crystal

ILLUSTRATION: A. M. DIBOS ET AL., PHYS. REV. LETT. 120, 243601 (2018)

Being robust, fast, and able to encode information in a number of different ways, single photons are ideal carriers of quantum information. Exploiting the vast optic fiber network to route single photons between distant points, however, is hampered by the lack of single-photon sources operating at telecom wavelengths. Dibos et al. show that single erbium ions doped in a solid-state host material produce single photons at just the right wavelength for long-distance transmission. They use a silicon-based nanophotonic crystal in close proximity to a doped ion to enhance the extraction of single photons and to couple them in an optic fiber. The results demonstrate the basis of an architecture to develop long-distance quantum optical networks.

Phys. Rev. Lett. 120, 243601 (2018).

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