Photon interaction breakthrough

Photon interaction breakthrough
by DEBORAH GRACE
November 3, 2014 Science

Secure transmission of data is possible by the use of quantum information networks and optical logic gates. This is made possible by photon-photon interactions. A photon is an elementary particle, which exhibits the properties of both waves and particles. Up until now, non-linear media (meaning that the information can be accessed or written in no particular order) has been used.

Photons generally do not interact with each other in free space but instead one passes through the other with no effect to either one. Vienna University of Technology researchers have made a significant and groundbreaking discovery in the field of quantum mechanics. A team of researchers has developed some unique hardware, which enable photons to interact. This hardware is composed of micro-thin fiber made of glass, which in turn attached to a device called a resonator.

The photon particle light can enter the resonator, moves in a circular fashion and then returns to the glass fiber. This change in pathways causes a phase inversion of 180 degrees. The researchers then attached a rubidium atom to the resonator preventing light from entering the resonator thereby preventing the oscillation phase of the proton from changing.

“It is like a pendulum, which should actually swing to the left, but due to coupling with a second pendulum, it swings to the right. There cannot be more extreme change in the pendulum’s condition”, said Professor Arno Rauschenbeutel, of Institute of Atomic and Subatomic Physics, TU Wien.

With fiber optics already in use today, the implementation of glass resonators will be compatible with many technological systems.

This incredible breakthrough with photon interaction in quantum mechanics brings with it unprecedented applications in quantum optic technology, quantum teleportation and quantum computing.

The breakthrough research is published in the journal ‘Nature Photonics’.


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