Generation of Photon Pairs in Fiber Microcouplers

Title: Generation of Photon Pairs in Fiber Microcouplers
Authors: Cheng, Xinru
Date: 2017
Abstract: Due to its inherent stability and compactness, integrated optics can allow for experimental complexity not currently achievable with bulk optics. This opens up the possibility for large-scale quantum technological applications, such as quantum communication networks and quantum information processing. Quantum information processing relies on efficient sources of entangled photon pairs. Most demonstrations in integrated photonics so far have featured the on-chip manipulation of photon states using a free-space bulk-optic source of photons. This has the drawback of introducing loss due to the spatial mode mismatch between waveguide modes of the chip and modes of the produced photons. In this way, loss limits the number of photons that are simultaneously carried in the integrated optical device, and thus limits the number of qubits. One way to avoid this loss is to generate the photons in another waveguide device. This can be done through, for example, spontaneous four-wave mixing (SFWM). In this third-order nonlinear process, two pump photons spontaneously scatter off each other to create two photons of two new frequencies, satisfying momentum and energy conservation. This has been studied in birefringent optical fibers and photonic crystal fibers. In this work, we investigate the SFWM generation of photons in a waveguide coupler comprised of two touching tapered optical fibers, which we call a microcoupler. The two silica fibers are kept in contact and tapered to be 1 micron in diameter in the 10 cm long uniform interaction region. This device has three main advantages over a standard telecom 2x2 fiber coupler. 1) The small mode area enhances the photon generation rate; 2) The microcoupler supports four modes which is the minimum number required for two-photon entanglement. So in principle the device should be able to produce polarization-entangled photon pairs; 3) The strong waveguide-waveguide coupling and waveguide dispersion (due to the tapering) forces the photons to be far in wavelength from the background light around the pump. We present the 28 allowed phasematching processes for the microcoupler, as well as predict the frequencies of the generated photons. We report the first experimental observation of photon pairs produced via SFWM in a microcoupler. We also analyze the polarization state of the observed photons to figure out which phasematching processes are responsible for generating the photons. We expect to observe more photon pairs in future devices, with the ultimate goal being the generation of polarization-entangled photon pairs for integrated optics.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -