A key challenge in today’s quantum science is the realization of large-scale complex non-classical systems to enable e.g. ultra-secure communications, quantum-enhanced measurements, and computations faster than classical approaches. Optical frequency combs represent a powerful approach towards this, since they provide a very high number of temporal and frequency modes which can result in large-scale quantum systems. Here, we discuss the recent progress on the realization of integrated quantum frequency combs and reveal how their use in combination with on-chip and fiber-optic telecommunications components can enable quantum state control with new functionalities, yielding unprecedented capability.
Optical square wave sources are particularly important for applications in high speed signal processing and optical communications. In most realizations, optical square waves are generated by electro-optic modulation, dispersion engineering of mode-locked lasers, polarization switching, or by exploiting optical bi-stability and/or optical delayed feedback in semiconductor diode lasers, as well as vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs). All such configurations are bulky and cause significant timing jitters. Here we demonstrate the direct generation of optical square waves from a polarization-maintaining figure-eight nonlinear amplifying loop mirror (NALM) configuration that uses an embedded high index glass micro-cavity as the nonlinear element. Such a NALM mimics the behavior of a saturable absorber and has been used to reach passive mode-locking of pico- and even nano-second pulses. In our method, the NALM, including a high-Q micro-ring resonator, acts as an ultra-narrowband spectral filter and at the same time provides a large nonlinear phase-shift. Previously we have demonstrated that such a configuration enables sufficient nonlinear phase-shifts for low-power narrow-bandwidth (~100 MHz FWHM) passive mode-locked laser operation. Here we demonstrate the switching of stable optical square wave pulses from conventional mode-locked pulses by adjusting the cavity properties. In addition, the square wave signal characteristics, such as repetition rate and pulse duration, can be also modified in a similar fashion. The source typically produces nanosecond optical square wave pulses with a repetition rate of ~ 120 MHz at 1550nm. In order to verify the reach of our approach, we compare our experimental results with numerical simulations using a delay differential equation model tailored for a figure-eight laser.
Complex optical quantum states based on entangled photons are essential for investigations of fundamental physics and are the heart of applications in quantum information science. Recently, integrated photonics has become a leading platform for the compact, cost-efficient, and stable generation and processing of optical quantum states. However, onchip sources are currently limited to basic two-dimensional (qubit) two-photon states, whereas scaling the state complexity requires access to states composed of several (<2) photons and/or exhibiting high photon dimensionality. Here we show that the use of integrated frequency combs (on-chip light sources with a broad spectrum of evenly-spaced frequency modes) based on high-Q nonlinear microring resonators can provide solutions for such scalable complex quantum state sources. In particular, by using spontaneous four-wave mixing within the resonators, we demonstrate the generation of bi- and multi-photon entangled qubit states over a broad comb of channels spanning the S, C, and L telecommunications bands, and control these states coherently to perform quantum interference measurements and state tomography. Furthermore, we demonstrate the on-chip generation of entangled high-dimensional (quDit) states, where the photons are created in a coherent superposition of multiple pure frequency modes. Specifically, we confirm the realization of a quantum system with at least one hundred dimensions. Moreover, using off-the-shelf telecommunications components, we introduce a platform for the coherent manipulation and control of frequencyentangled quDit states. Our results suggest that microcavity-based entangled photon state generation and the coherent control of states using accessible telecommunications infrastructure introduce a powerful and scalable platform for quantum information science.
The on-chip generation of optical quantum states will enable accessible advances for quantum technologies. We demonstrate that integrated quantum frequency combs (based on high-Q microring resonators made from a CMOS-compatible, high refractive-index doped-glass platform) can enable the generation of pure heralded single photons, cross-polarized photon pairs, as well as bi- and multi-photon entangled qubit states over a broad frequency comb covering the S, C, L telecommunications band, with photon frequencies corresponding to standard telecommunication channels spaced by 200 GHz.
Exploiting a self-locked, intra-cavity excitation configuration, a highly-stable source of multiplexed heralded single photons is demonstrated, operating continuously for several weeks with less than 5% fluctuations. The photon bandwidth of 110 MHz is compatible with quantum memories, and high photon purity was confirmed through single-photon auto-correlation measurements. In turn, by simultaneously exciting two orthogonal polarization mode resonances, we demonstrate the first realization of type-II spontaneous FWM (in analogy to type-II spontaneous parametric down-conversion), allowing the direct generation of orthogonally-polarized photon pairs on a chip.
By using a double-pulse excitation, we demonstrate the generation of time-bin entangled photon pairs. We measure qubit entanglement with visibilities above 90%, enabling the implementation of quantum information processing protocols. Finally, the excitation field and the generated photons are intrinsically bandwidth-matched due to the resonant characteristics of the ring cavity, enabling the multiplication of Bell states and the generation of a four-photon time-bin entangled state. We confirm the generation of this four-photon entangled state through four-photon quantum interference.