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Physicists Create New Form of Light


The researchers observed groups of three photons interacting and, in effect, sticking together to form a completely new kind of photonic matter.

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and elsewhere have demonstrated that photons can be made to interact, an accomplishment that could open a path toward using photons in quantum computing.

Credit: Christine Daniloff/MIT

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and elsewhere have demonstrated the successful interaction of photons, which could clear a path toward using light particles in quantum computing.

Their controlled experiments showed that when shining a weak laser beam through a dense cloud of ultracold rubidium atoms, the photons bound together in pairs or triplets, suggesting an attraction occurring among them.

The researchers also measured the photonic phase before and after traveling through the cloud, and they noted as the three-photon particles exited the atom cloud simultaneously, their phase was shifted compared to when the photons did not interact at all, and was three times larger than the phase shift of two-photon molecules.

The team says photons that have interacted with each other, in this case via an attraction between them, can be considered strongly correlated, or entangled, which is essential for any quantum computing bit.

From MIT News
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Abstracts Copyright © 2018 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


 

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