Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers have achieved a groundbreaking milestone in the field of photon generation. They have developed a technique to produce circularly polarized single photons using atomically thin materials, according to a study published in the journal Nature Materials. This technique could revolutionize the way we emit and manipulate light.
Traditionally, generating circularly polarized photons requires the use of an external magnetic field, making the process complex and expensive. However, the Los Alamos researchers have managed to eliminate the need for such magnetic fields. They accomplished this by stacking two different atomically thin materials together, creating a chiral quantum light source.
To achieve this feat, the team created nanometer-scale indentations on the materials. These indentations created a depression where electrons fell and stimulated the emission of single photons. Surprisingly, the indentations also disrupted the magnetic properties of the materials, resulting in the emission of circularly polarized photons.
What makes this technique even more promising is its potential for modulating the polarization of the photons with electrical or microwave stimuli. This means that quantum information could be encoded in the polarization of the photons, leading to exciting possibilities for quantum communication and computing.
The researchers hope to build on their findings by developing photonic circuits that can precisely control the propagation of these circularly polarized photons in a single direction. This advancement could pave the way for the creation of an ultra-secure quantum internet.
The study received support from various funding sources, including the U.S. Department of Energy and the Quantum Science Center. The team at Los Alamos National Laboratory believes that their groundbreaking research could have significant implications for the fields of quantum physics, technology, and information science.
The discovery of a low-cost and reliable method for generating circularly polarized single photons has the potential to revolutionize many industries, including telecommunications, cryptography, and data storage. The team’s research represents a significant step forward in harnessing the power of atomically thin materials and could shape the future of photon generation and manipulation.
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