Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The single photon switch

12.01.2009
Computing based on photons rather than electrons, on the other hand, promises significantly faster computation and information processing. An international team of researchers has now developed a theoretical system that would allow single photons to be controlled reliably.

Little more than a system of two energy levels could be used to control a single particle of light

Modern electronics is built upon the control of electric charges through an electric field. Computing based on photons rather than electrons, on the other hand, promises significantly faster computation and information processing. An international team of researchers has now developed a theoretical system that would allow single photons to be controlled reliably. “The system we propose can be used as a quantum switch to control the transport of single photons,” says team member Franco Nori from the Advanced Science Institute, Wako, and The University of Michigan, USA.

In contrast to electrons, exercising control over photons is rather difficult to achieve, because light travels at high speeds and hardly interacts with matter. This has hampered the realization of schemes such as all-optical computing. The use of resonators, however, offers a solution to better control the way light propagates. Resonators are small cavities, bound by mirrors at both ends that bounce light back and only occasionally let light out.

As reported in the journal Physical Review Letters (1), the researchers studied a chain of resonators coupled together so that photons propagate along this line. A system with two energy levels was placed in the center of this coupled-resonator waveguide. To facilitate the interaction between light and the two-level system the separation of the two energy levels is close to the photon energy.

When there is a perfect match between the photon energy and the separation of energy levels, the two-level system interacts with the photon; physics then dictates that the photon will be reflected. However, when the energies of the photon and the two-level system do not match, the photon will be transmitted towards the other end of the waveguide.

“Such a two-level system with adjustable energy levels could be used as a switch that controls the propagation of a single photon in the same way a transistor controls the transport of electrons,“ says team member C. P. Sun from The Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing.

To realize this two-level system the researchers suggest using so-called superconducting qubits, used in connection with superconducting resonators, which have been demonstrated already, as the waveguides. The separation of the qubit energy levels can be easily controlled and could even be done with another single photon. The researchers have demonstrated theoretically that, with the right choice of system parameters, switching can be easily achieved. “We believe such a system is well within reach of current technology,” says RIKEN’s Lan Zhou.

Reference

1. Zhou, L., Gong, Z. R., Liu, Y.-X., Sun, C. P. & Nori, F. Controllable Scattering of a Single Photon inside a One-Dimensional Resonator Waveguide. Physical Review Letters 101, 100501 (2008).

The corresponding author for this highlight is based at the RIKEN Digital Materials Team

Saeko Okada | ResearchSEA
Further information:
http://www.rikenresearch.riken.jp/research/620/
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Ultra-precise chip-scale sensor detects unprecedentedly small changes at the nanoscale
18.01.2017 | The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

nachricht Data analysis optimizes cyber-physical systems in telecommunications and building automation
18.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Algorithmen und Wissenschaftliches Rechnen SCAI

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>