By mapping the strong interaction between Rydberg excitations in ultra-cold atomic ensembles onto single photons via electromagnetically induced transparency, it is now possible to realize a medium which exhibits a strong optical nonlinearity at the level of individual photons. We review the theoretical concepts and the experimental state-of-the-art of this exciting new field, and discuss first applications in the field of all-optical quantum information processing.
Fascinating insight into the topic, which utilises the properties of Rydberg matter to enable traditional non-linear optics to cross over to the quantum regime. From the intro:
One remarkable success of advances in ultra-cold Rydberg physics is the realization of a medium with a large optical nonlinearity at the single photon level [1–3]. Highly excited Rydberg atoms bring something new to the history of optics as they enable quantum nonlinear media where photons are strongly interacting!
The Astronomical Light Optical Hybrid Analysis project investigates the combined use of a telescope array interferometer and nonlinear optics to propose a new generation of instruments dedicated to high-resolution imaging for infrared astronomy. The nonlinear process of optical frequency conversion transfers the astronomical light to a shorter wavelength domain. Here, we report on the first fringes obtained on the sky with the prototype operated at 1.55μm in the astronomical H band and implemented on the Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy telescope array. This seminal result allows us to foresee a future extension to the challenging midinfrared spectral domain.
This is quite interesting as an application of photon up-conversion at low-light levels – in this case for interferometric IR telescope arrays. The demo in the paper doesn’t show any improvement on the existing configuration (i.e. no non-linear optical step), but in principle could: once one factors in not just lossy detection in the IR, but also lossy beam transport (in the conceptually similar VLTI system it’s about 10% efficient).
Entanglement is nowadays considered as a key quantity for the understanding of correlations, transport properties and phase transitions in composite quantum systems, and thus receives interest beyond the engineered applications in the focus of quantum information science. We review recent experimental and theoretical progress in the study of quantum correlations under that wider perspective, with an emphasis on rigorous definitions of the entanglement of identical particles, and on entanglement studies in atoms and molecules.
It’s well worth taking a few minutes to watch the video (below)! The image above shows the world sheet for a laser pulse (fig. 2 in the paper).
The gravitational field of a laser pulse of finite lifetime, is investigated in the framework of linearized gravity. Although the effects are very small, they may be of fundamental physical interest. It is shown that the gravitational field of a linearly polarized light pulse is modulated as the norm of the corresponding electric field strength, while no modulations arise for circular polarization. In general, the gravitational field is independent of the polarization direction. It is shown that all physical effects are confined to spherical shells expanding with the speed of light, and that these shells are imprints of the spacetime events representing emission and absorption of the pulse. Nearby test particles at rest are attracted towards the pulse trajectory by the gravitational field due to the emission of the pulse, and they are repelled from the pulse trajectory by the gravitational field due to its absorption. Examples are given for the size of the attractive effect. It is recovered that massless test particles do not experience any physical effect if they are co-propagating with the pulse, and that the acceleration of massless test particles counter-propagating with respect to the pulse is four times stronger than for massive particles at rest. The similarities between the gravitational effect of a laser pulse and Newtonian gravity in two dimensions are pointed out. The spacetime curvature close to the pulse is compared to that induced by gravitational waves from astronomical sources.
Interferometric imaging based on photon pairs, from the intro:
Information is central to quantum mechanics. In particular, quantum interference occurs only if there exists no information to distinguish between the superposed states. The mere possibility of obtaining information that could distinguish between overlapping states inhibits quantum interference1, 2. Here we introduce and experimentally demonstrate a quantum imaging concept based on induced coherence without induced emission3, 4. Our experiment uses two separate down-conversion nonlinear crystals (numbered NL1 and NL2), each illuminated by the same pump laser, creating one pair of photons (denoted idler and signal). If the photon pair is created in NL1, one photon (the idler) passes through the object to be imaged and is overlapped with the idler amplitude created in NL2, its source thus being undefined. Interference of the signal amplitudes coming from the two crystals then reveals the image of the object. The photons that pass through the imaged object (idler photons from NL1) are never detected, while we obtain images exclusively with the signal photons (from NL1 and NL2), which do not interact with the object. Our experiment is fundamentally different from previous quantum imaging techniques, such as interaction-free imaging5 or ghost imaging6, 7, 8, 9, because now the photons used to illuminate the object do not have to be detected at all and no coincidence detection is necessary. This enables the probe wavelength to be chosen in a range for which suitable detectors are not available. To illustrate this, we show images of objects that are either opaque or invisible to the detected photons. Our experiment is a prototype in quantum information—knowledge can be extracted by, and about, a photon that is never detected.
Continuing Dixit & Santra’s work on applying QED formalism to electron scattering and ionization, in particular the role of electronic wavepacket coherence and interference in fully quantum (light + matter) vs. semi-classical treatments.