Synopsis: Towards a handheld optical table

A new optical component for integrated photonic circuits could prove helpful for applications that store and transmit the information contained in linearly polarized light.
Synopsis figure
Credit: L. Sansoni et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. (2010)

A typical quantum optics experiment takes place in a laboratory filled with numerous freestanding components mounted to an optical table.  All of these optical elements require careful alignment and stabilization—a limitation that could be overcome by instead embedding the optical components on a single rigid structure, such as a chip.

Writing in Physical Review Letters, Linda Sansoni and colleagues at Sapienza Universitá di Roma and collaborators at several institutes in Italy describe a beam splitter they fabricated in a glass structure for use in an integrated photonic circuit on a chip. A beam splitter, which separates one beam into two, is often an essential component for optical experiments. To make the beam splitter, they focused femtosecond infrared laser pulses on borosilicate glass and etched pathways for the input light.  By measuring input and output light for nonentangled and entangled photon states, the group showed that their device preserves the polarization of the input light.

The polarization-preserving feature of Sansoni et al.’s device makes it potentially useful for tasks like cryptography and linear optics quantum computing that are based on the information stored in the polarization of light. – Sonja Grondalski


Announcements

More Announcements »

Subject Areas

Quantum Information

Previous Synopsis

Interdisciplinary Physics

The topology of trade

Read More »

Next Synopsis

Quantum Information

Unexpected error

Read More »

Related Articles

Viewpoint: Hiding a Quantum Cache in Diamonds
Quantum Information

Viewpoint: Hiding a Quantum Cache in Diamonds

Entanglement purification, a vital enabler for practical quantum networks, has been shown to be feasible with secluded nuclear memories in diamond. Read More »

Viewpoint: Classical Simulation of Quantum Systems?
Optics

Viewpoint: Classical Simulation of Quantum Systems?

Richard Feynman suggested that it takes a quantum computer to simulate large quantum systems, but a new study shows that a classical computer can work when the system has loss and noise. Read More »

Focus: <i>Landmarks</i>—Correcting Quantum Computer Errors
Quantum Physics

Focus: Landmarks—Correcting Quantum Computer Errors

In the mid-1990s, researchers proposed methods to preserve the integrity of quantum bits—techniques that may become the key to practical quantum computing on a large scale. Read More »

More Articles