Spatial-mode-selective frequency conversion is potentially useful for both classical and quantum communication applications. By a judicious choice of the quasi-phase-matching period in a Kai(2) multimode waveguide, such conversion can be achieved with high efficiency (close to 100%) and with low crosstalk (< -20 dB). For space-division multiplexing application with classical signals, where each spatial mode represents a separate signal channel, the selective conversion of a spatial mode without disrupting other signal modes can be used for reconfigurable spatial-mode de-multiplexing. This classical de-multiplexing capability can be also extended to the quantum regime, where the quantum state of the signal is preserved during frequency conversion, owing to the unitary nature of the sum-frequency generation (SFG) process.
Building upon our previous experimental demonstration of the classical spatial-mode-selective frequency up-conversion in a two-mode PPLN waveguide, here we report the extension of this work into the single-photon-level regime. The signal (1540 nm) in either a single mode (TM00 or TM01) or a superimposition mode (TM00+TM01, TM00+iTM01) of the waveguide is selectively up-converted into TM01 SFG mode, by interacting with an appropriate pump mode (1560 nm). An accurate measurement of the single-photon-level SFG signals requires thorough filtering of the unwanted photons contributed by the second harmonic of the pump, residual pump noise extending to the signal band, and the Raman noise generated in the waveguide. We have investigated these unwanted photon sources and suppressed them by a combination of thin-film-interference and volume-Bragg-grating filters. Resulting single-photon-counting measurements show >70% internal conversion efficiency, better than -12dB crosstalk, and >100 ratio of the signal to background photon counts for all selected modes and mode superpositions.