Photons on demand: dial up your number
Our group has been awarded a Marsden grant starting in 2022, totalling $921k over three years. Summary:
Optical quantum technologies are poised to revolutionise communication, computing, and metrology. Access to light sources that deterministically provide a precisely known number of photons (light quanta), or more generally light of a prescribed, uniquely quantum mechanical nature, is key to unlocking the full potential of these technologies. We will build such a source that consists of a single atom trapped near the surface of a piece of optical fibre that has been tapered to a width of just a few hundred nanometres, less than one per cent of the thickness of a human hair. The source works by using the quantum mechanical properties of absorption and emission of light by an atom and utilises the nanometre-size fibre to efficiently capture the quantum light emitted by the atom and then guide this light into regular telecommunication fibre. This light source will be truly quantum in nature and will yield large benefits to the quantum technology industry.