A team of scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory suggests that a modulated quantum metasurface can control all properties of a photonic qubit. This is a milestone that could impact the fields of quantum information, communications, sensing, imaging, energy and momentum collection.Their findings were published in the journal yesterday Physical review letter, Published by the American Physical Society.
“People have been studying classical meta-surfaces for a long time,” says Diego Dalbit, who works in the condensed matter physics group of the institute’s theory department. “But we came up with this new idea, which was to modulate the optical properties of quanta in time and space. Meta surface This allows you to manipulate all the degrees of freedom of a single photon, the most basic unit of light, on demand. “
Metasurfaces are ultra-thin structures that allow light to be manipulated in ways not normally found in nature. In this case, the team developed a metasurface that looked like an array of rotated crosses, which could be manipulated by laser or electrical pulses. Next, we proposed firing a single photon through the metasurface. Here, photons are all intertwined and divided into so-called superpositions of many colors, paths, and rotational states that are produced. Quantum entanglement— Means that a single photon can inherit all these different properties at once.
“When the metasurface is modulated by a laser or electrical pulse, you can control the frequency of refraction. Single photon, Change the angle of the orbit, the direction of the electric field, and the twist, “says Abul Azad, Integrated Nanotechnology Center, Materials Physics and Applications Division at the Institute.
By manipulating these properties, this technology can be used to encode all information between photons, banks, quantum computers, the Earth and satellites moving within a quantum network. Encoding photons is especially desirable in the field of encryption, as “eaves” cannot display photons without changing them. Basic physics, When executed, warns senders and recipients that the information is at stake.
Researchers are also working on ways to extract photons from a vacuum by modulating the quantum meta surface.
“The quantum vacuum is not empty, but it is full of fleeting virtual photons. Modulated quantum metasurfaces allow you to efficiently extract virtual photons and convert them into real photons. photon “Pair” says Wilton Court Kamp, who works in the theory department of the lab’s condensed matter physics group.
Taking advantage of the photons present in the vacuum and firing them in one direction should generate propulsion in the opposite direction. Similarly, when the vacuum is agitated, the twisted photons should generate rotational motion. Structured quantum light could one day be used to generate mechanical thrust, using very little energy to drive a metasurface.
Wilton JM Kort-Kamp et al, Space-Time Quantum Metasurface, Physical review letter (2021). DOI: 10.1103 / PhysRevLett.127.043603
Los Alamos National Laboratory
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