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A bright and fast source of coherent single photons

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posted on 2023-11-30, 20:14 authored by Natasha Tomm, Alisa Javadi, Nadia O. Antoniadis, Daniel Najer, Matthias C. Löbl, Alexander R. Korsch, Rüdiger Schott, Sascha R. Valentin, Andreas D. Wieck, Arne Ludwig, Richard J. Warburton
A single photon source is a key enabling technology in device-independent quantum communication, quantum simulation for instance boson sampling, linear optics-based and measurement-based quantum computing. These applications involve many photons and therefore place stringent requirements on the efficiency of single photon creation. The scaling on efficiency is an exponential function of the number of photons. Schemes taking full advantage of quantum superpositions also depend sensitively on the coherence of the photons, i.e. their indistinguishability. It is therefore crucial to maintain the coherence over long strings of photons. Here, we report a single photon source with an especially high system efficiency: a photon is created on-demand at the output of the final optical fibre with a probability of 57%. The coherence of the photons is very high and is maintained over a stream consisting of thousands of photons; the repetition rate is in the GHz regime. We break with the established semiconductor paradigms, such as micropillars, photonic crystal cavities and waveguides. Instead, we employ gated quantum dots in an open, tunable microcavity. The gating ensures low-noise operation; the tunability compensates for the lack of control in quantum dot position and emission frequency; the output is very well-matched to a single-mode fibre. An increase in efficiency over the state-of-the-art by more than a factor of two, as reported here, will result in an enormous decrease in run-times, by a factor of $10^{7}$ for 20 photons.

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