All-optical routing of single photons by a one-atom switch controlled by a single photon

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Science  10 Jul 2014:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1254699

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The prospect of quantum networks, in which quantum information is carried by single photons in photonic circuits, has long been the driving force behind the effort to achieve all-optical routing of single photons. Here, we realize a single-photon activated switch capable of routing a photon from any of its two inputs to any of its two outputs. Our device is based on a single atom coupled to a fiber-coupled, chip-based microresonator. A single reflected control photon toggles the switch from high reflection (R~65%) to high transmission (T~90%), with average of ~1.5 control photons per switching event (~3 including linear losses). No additional control fields are required. The control and target photons are both in-fiber and practically identical, making this scheme compatible with scalable architectures for quantum information processing.

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