Los Alamos National Laboratory Researchers Develop Technique for Generating Circularly Polarized Single Photons
Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists have made a groundbreaking discovery that could revolutionize the field of quantum cryptography and communication. This breakthrough involves a new technique to generate circularly polarized single photons, without the need for an external magnetic field.
The research team, led by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory, used nanometer-scale indentations on a stack of atomically thin materials to produce a continuous stream of circularly polarized light. This technique holds significant implications for encoding quantum information, as the polarization state of photons is crucial in this process.
To achieve this breakthrough, the team stacked a layer of tungsten diselenide semiconductor onto a layer of nickel phosphorus trisulfide magnetic semiconductor. They utilized atomic force microscopy to create tiny indentations that served as wells in the potential energy landscape. These indentations caused electrons to fall into the wells and stimulate the emission of single photons.
Additionally, the nanoindentation disrupted the magnetic properties of the underlying materials, resulting in the emission of circularly polarized photons. The team successfully demonstrated their ability to control the polarization state of a single photon stream.
Looking ahead, the researchers are exploring ways to modulate the degree of circular polarization using electrical or microwave stimuli. This advancement would enable the encoding of quantum information into the photon stream, bringing us closer to realizing an ultra-secure quantum internet.
The development of this technique was made possible through funding from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Quantum Science Center. As scientists continue to push the boundaries of quantum technology, this research represents a significant step forward in the development of advanced quantum communication systems.
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