What is it about?

Individual single-photon sources based on photon pair production are inherently probabilistic. That means that when a photon is called for, it is a roll of the dice as to whether you get that photon. By multiplexing several single-photon sources together, it is possible to make a system that greatly increases your odds of getting a single photon when you request it. This enhancement in the emission probability is achieved without the degradation in single-photon quality that typically occurs when trying trying to increase the emission probability. We review this field.

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Why is it important?

Many quantum information and measurement applications depend critically on the emission probability of a single photon source. That dependence can be very strict. That is if the emission probability is below some level the application becomes impractical or even impossible. Single-photon sources with high efficiencies would be a boon for many applications.


This is a technique that originated 2 decades ago and there has been much improvement since. I find it an interesting story to see what has been a very difficult technical problem make real advances and flower into a number of unforeseen approaches to implement the original concept and move toward the goal of making a more ideal single photon source.

Alan Migdall
Joint Quantum Institute

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Single-photon sources: Approaching the ideal through multiplexing, Review of Scientific Instruments, April 2020, American Institute of Physics,
DOI: 10.1063/5.0003320.
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