Ultrafast all-optical switching by single photons

Volz, T., Reinhard, A., Winger, M., Badolato, A. , Hennessy, K. J., Hu, E. L. and Imamoğlu, A. (2012) Ultrafast all-optical switching by single photons. Nature Photonics, 6(9), pp. 605-609. (doi: 10.1038/nphoton.2012.181)

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An as yet outstanding goal in quantum optics is the realization of fast optical nonlinearities at the single-photon level. This would allow for the implementation of optical devices with new functionalities such as single-photon switches/transistors1,2 or controlled-phase gates3. Although nonlinear optics effects at the single-emitter level have been demonstrated in a number of systems4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13, none of these experiments showed single-photon switching on ultrafast timescales. Here, we perform pulsed two-colour spectroscopy and demonstrate that, in a strongly coupled quantum dot–cavity system, the presence of a single photon on one of the fundamental polariton transitions can turn on light scattering on a transition from the first to the second Jaynes–Cummings manifold. The overall switching time of this single-photon all-optical switch14 is ∼50 ps. In addition, we use the single-photon nonlinearity to implement a pulse correlator. Our quantum dot–cavity system could form the building block of future high-bandwidth photonic networks operating in the quantum regime15,16,17,18.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Badolato, Professor Antonio
Authors: Volz, T., Reinhard, A., Winger, M., Badolato, A., Hennessy, K. J., Hu, E. L., and Imamoğlu, A.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Electronics and Nanoscale Engineering
Journal Name:Nature Photonics
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN (Online):1749-4893
Published Online:12 August 2012

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