Scattering phenomena affect light propagation through any kind of medium from free space to biological tissues. Finding appropriate strategies to increase the robustness to scattering is the common requirement in developing both communication protocols and imaging systems. Recently, structured light has attracted attention due to its seeming scattering resistance in terms of transmissivity and spatial behavior. Moreover, correlation between optical polarization and orbital angular momentum (OAM), which characterizes the so-called vector vortex beam (VVB) states, seems to allow for the preservation of the polarization pattern. We extend the analysis by investigating both the spatial features and the polarization structure of vectorial optical vortexes propagating in scattering media with different concentrations. Among the observed features, we find a sudden swift decrease in contrast ratio for Gaussian, OAM, and VVB modes for concentrations of the adopted scattering media exceeding 0.09%. Our analysis provides a more general and complete study on the propagation of structured light in dispersive and scattering media.
Entanglement distribution between distant parties is one of the most important and challenging tasks in quantum communication. Distribution of photonic entangled states using optical fiber links is a fundamental building block toward quantum networks. Among the different degrees of freedom, orbital angular momentum (OAM) is one of the most promising due to its natural capability to encode high dimensional quantum states. We experimentally demonstrate fiber distribution of hybrid polarization-vector vortex entangled photon pairs. To this end, we exploit a recently developed air-core fiber that supports OAM modes. High fidelity distribution of the entangled states is demonstrated by performing quantum state tomography in the polarization-OAM Hilbert space after fiber propagation and by violations of Bell inequalities and multipartite entanglement tests. The results open new scenarios for quantum applications where correlated complex states can be transmitted by exploiting the vectorial nature of light.
Boson sampling is a computational problem that has recently been proposed as a candidate to obtain an unequivocal quantum computational advantage. The problem consists in sampling from the output distribution of indistinguishable bosons in a linear interferometer. There is strong evidence that such an experiment is hard to classically simulate, but it is naturally solved by dedicated photonic quantum hardware, comprising single photons, linear evolution, and photodetection. This prospect has stimulated much effort resulting in the experimental implementation of progressively larger devices. We review recent advances in photonic boson sampling, describing both the technological improvements achieved and the future challenges. We also discuss recent proposals and implementations of variants of the original problem, theoretical issues occurring when imperfections are considered, and advances in the development of suitable techniques for validation of boson sampling experiments. We conclude by discussing the future application of photonic boson sampling devices beyond the original theoretical scope.
The progressive development of quantum technologies in many areas, ranging from investigation on foundamentals of quantum of mechanics to quantum information and computation, has increased the interest on those problems that can exhibit a quantum advantage. The Boson Sampling problem is a clear example where traditional computers fail in the task of sampling from the distribution of n indistinguishable photons after a propagation in a m-mode optical interferometer. In this context, in the absence of classical algorithms able to simulate efficiently multi-photon interference, the validation of Boson Sampling is still an open problem. Here we investigate a novel approach to Boson Sampling validation based on statistical properties of correlation functions. In particular we discuss its feasibility in actual proof-of-principle experiments. Furthermore we provide an extensive study of the physical resources required to validate experiments, investigating also the role of bosonic bunching in high-dimensional applications. Our investigation confirms the goodness of the validation protocol, paving the way to use this toolbox for the validation of Boson Sampling devices.
Entangled photons generation is an interesting field of research, since progress in this area will directly affect the development of photonic quantum technologies, including quantum computing, simulation and sensing. Several methods have been sifted to increase the performances of entangled photon sources and the integrated optics approach represents a promising strategy. In particular, integrated waveguide sources represent a robust tool, thanks to their stability and the enhancement of nonlinear light-crystal interaction provided by waveguide field confinement.
Here, we show the versatility of a hybrid approach, realizing an integrated optical source for the generation of entangled photon-pairs at telecom wavelength. The nonlinear active medium used is lithium niobate, while the routing and manipulation of the generated signal is performed in aluminum-borosilicate glass photonic circuits. The system is composed of three cascaded devices. First, a balanced directional coupler at the fundamental wavelength equally splits the pump in the lithium niobate waveguides, which generate single-photon pairs through type 0 spontaneous parametric down-conversion process. A third chip, encompassing directional couplers and waveplates, closes the interferometer and recombines the generated photons, thus giving access to different quantum states of light: path-entangled or polarization-entangled states. A thermal phase shifter, which controls the relative phase between the interferometer arms, gives an additional degree of freedom for engineering the output state of the presented photon pairs source. All these components are entirely fabricated by femtosecond laser micromachining, a direct and very versatile technique that allows to process different kind of materials and realize high quality optical circuits.
The investigation of multi-photon quantum interference in symmetric multi-port splitters has both fundamental and applicative interest. Destructive quantum interference in devices with specific symmetry leads to the suppression of a large number of possible output states, generalizing the Hong-Ou-Mandel effect; simple suppression laws have been developed for interferometers implementing the Fourier or the Hadamard transform over the modes. In fact, these enhanced interference features in the output distribution can be used to assess the indistinguishability of single-photon sources, and symmetric interferometers have been envisaged as benchmark or validation devices for Boson-Sampling machines. In this work we devise an innovative approach to implement symmetric multi-mode interferometers that realize the Fourier and Hadamard transform over the optical modes, exploiting integrated waveguide circuits. Our design is based on the optical implementations of the Fast-Fourier and Fast-Hadamard transform algorithms, and exploits a novel three-dimensional layout which is made possible by the unique capabilities of femtosecond laser waveguide writing. We fabricate devices with m = 4 and m = 8 modes and we let two identical photons evolve in the circuit. By characterizing the coincidence output distribution we are able to observe experimentally the known suppression laws for the output states. In particular, we characterize the robustness of this approach to assess the photons' indistinguishability and to rule out alternative non-quantum states of light. The reported results pave the way to the adoption of symmetric multiport interferometers as pivotal tools in the diagnostics and certification of quantum photonic platforms.
Integrated photonic circuits with many input and output modes are essential in applications ranging from conventional optical telecommunication networks, to the elaboration of photonic qubits in the integrated quantum information framework. In particular, the latter field has been object in the recent years of an increasing interest: the compactness and phase stability of integrated waveguide circuits are enabling experiments unconceivable with bulk-optics set-ups. Linear photonic devices for quantum information are based on quantum and classical interference effects: the desired circuit operation can be achieved only with tight fabrication control on both power repartition in splitting elements and phase retardance in the various paths. Here we report on a novel three-dimensional circuit architecture, made possible by the unique capabilities of femtosecond laser waveguide writing, which enables us to realize integrated multimode devices implementing arbitrary linear transformations. Networks of cascaded directional couplers can be built with independent control on the splitting ratios and the phase shifts in each branch. In detail, we show an arbitrarily designed 5×5 integrated interferometer: characterization with one- and two-photon experiments confirms the accuracy of our fabrication technique. We exploit the fabricated circuit to implement a small instance of the boson-sampling experiments with up to three photons, which is one of the most promising approaches to realize phenomena hard to simulate with classical computers. We will further show how, by studying classical and quantum interference in many random multimode circuits, we may gain deeper insight into the bosonic coalescence phenomenon.
In the optical sensing context one of the main challenge is to design and implement novel techniques of sensing optimized
to work in a lossy scenario, in which effects of environmental disturbances can destroy the benefits deriving from the
adoption of quantum resources. Here we describe the experimental implementation of a protocol based on the process
of optical parametric amplification to boost interferometry sensitivity in the presence of losses in a minimally invasive
scenario. By performing the amplification process on a microscopic probe after the interaction with the sample, we can
beat the losses detrimental effect on the phase measurement which affects the single photon state after its interaction with
the sample, and thus improve the achievable sensitivity.
In this work we present the realization of multiphoton quantum states, obtained by optical parametric amplification,
and we investigate their perspectives and possible applications. The multiphoton quantum states are
generated by a quantum-injected optical parametric amplifier (QI-OPA) seeded by a single-photon belonging
to an EPR entangled pair. The entanglement between the micro-macroscopic photon system is experimentally
demonstrated, and the possible applications of the macro-qubits states are presented and discussed.
In the present work we propose to realize a macroscopic light-matter entangled state, obtained by the interaction
of a multiphoton quantum superposition with a BEC system. The multiphoton quantum state is generated
by a quantum-injected optical parametric amplifier (QI-OPA) seeded by a single-photon belonging to an EPR
entangled pair and interacts with a Mirror-BEC shaped as a Bragg interference structure. The overall process
will realize an entangled macroscopic quantum superposition involving a "microscopic" single-photon state of
polarization and the coherent "macroscopic" displacement of the BEC structure acting in space-like separated
distant places. This hybrid photonic-atomic system could open new perspectives on the possibility of coupling
the amplified radiation with an atomic ensemble, a Bose-Einstein condensate, in order to implement innovative
quantum interface between light and matter.