Physical Science 7.3h – Atoms Absorb and Emit Light
Researchers accidentally identified light source that generates two photons at once from the energy of an electron. The opening can be used to development secure quantum information technologies and replacement of electronic components of computer chips with optical.
Quantum information is very sensitive and can disappear upon contact with the environment, making data management and communication difficult using single photons. Sources of paired quanta of energy can solve the problem. One of these particles of light can potentially serve as a carrier of fragile quantum information, and the other as a messenger for advance notice..
Scientists at the Max-Planck Institute for Solid State Research have found that the operation of a scanning tunneling microscope, in addition to individual light particles, also produces pairs of photons. After conducted experiments, they found that twin photons are generated 10 thousand times more often than predicted by theory.
When paired quanta are formed in a tunnel junction, they are less than 50 trillionths of a second apart. Therefore, due to the insufficient resolution of the detectors, it is not yet possible to say whether the photons actually appear simultaneously or with quick succession.
The results obtained open up new perspectives in photonics and quantum communication. Unlike other methods of creating paired photons, this one is purely electronic. In addition, the process takes place on an atomic scale with application tiny devices, so a similar light source could be used in future generations of computer chips, replacing electronic components with optical ones. A team of engineers from NTT Corporation has already developed the first samples of such equipment..
Next, scientists will find out whether the measurement of one photon directly affects the state of the twin. If so, they will be entangled, which is critical to quantum cryptography.. The research findings also raise fundamental questions about how such couples.
Recall that recently, engineers have created a platform that will allow quantum computers to operate at room temperature..
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: imgur, Klaus Kuhnke / MPI für Festkörperforschung