Report

Nondestructive Detection of an Optical Photon

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  14 Nov 2013:
1246164
DOI: 10.1126/science.1246164

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Abstract

All optical detectors to date annihilate photons upon detection, thus excluding repeated measurements. Here, we demonstrate a robust photon detection scheme which does not rely on absorption. Instead, an incoming photon is reflected off an optical resonator containing a single atom prepared in a superposition of two states. The reflection toggles the superposition phase which is then measured to trace the photon. Characterizing the device with faint laser pulses, a single-photon detection efficiency of 74% and a survival probability of 66% is achieved. The efficiency can be further increased by observing the photon repeatedly. The large single-photon nonlinearity of the experiment should enable the development of photonic quantum gates and the preparation of novel quantum states of light.

View Full Text