A team of researchers has made a breakthrough success at coupling photons that reacted or interacted with each other, and this is just the beginning of successes with interactive photons in the field of photon-based scalable quantum logics.

“It is like a pendulum, which should actually swing to the left, but due to coupling with a second pendulum, it swings to the right. There cannot be a more extreme change in the pendulum’s oscillation. We achieve the strongest possible interaction with the smallest possible intensity of light.”

That was the statement of Arno Rauschenbeutel of the Institute for Atomic and Subatomic Physics at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien).

This breakthrough become all the more appreciated because light is never known to interact with itself. The photon, which is the smallest unit of light transmission, is made up of electromagnetic energy with particles that act like a wave. Scientists had never been able to couple photons in many materials because this process requires extremely high energy to achieve.

Recently, researchers were able to alter a beam of light that had a single photon from another source of light. They sent a photon through a fiber optic cable and then halfway through a resonator – a device that can possibly alter the phase of the photon. The photon was then sent back via the cable, but during its return trip, a trough were a wave crest should be present was observed.

“That way, a maximally entangled photon state can be created. Such states are required in all fields of quantum optics – in quantum teleportation, or for light-transistors which could potentially be used for quantum computing,” Rauschenbeutel said in a statement. The team later discovered that it is possible to shut down the resonator with a single rubidium atom; and this could occur because an atom is absorbed and the other inverted when both photons arrive at the rubidium atom at the same time.

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