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 March 25, 2019

Book by Boyd, Lukishova combines latest advances and early historical experiments in overview of quantum photonics

“One might think that single-photon sources were developed first, but it turns out that the history is just the opposite: in the optical domain, sources of pairs of entangled photons were developed first, and single-photon sources were invented later.”

Alain Aspect and Philippe Grangier
Laboratoire Charles Fabry, Institut d’Optique Graduate School, Université Paris-Saclay, Palaiseau, France

ThisCover of book is the stepping off point for Quantum Photonics: Pioneering Advances and Emerging Applications (Springer Nature 2019). Edited by Robert Boyd and Svetlana Lukishova of the Institute of Optics and Victor Zadkov of the Institute of Spectroscopy in Troitsk, Moscow, Russia, the book provides the latest advances in modern quantum, nano-, and nonlinear photonics (Part I) and historical experiments of the period 1900─1956 on light pressure, single photons and nonlinear optics complimented with reprints and translation into English of some pioneering experimental papers (Part II). It is available online through the University of Rochester subscription for the Springer Series in Optical Sciences.

“Today’s general public is intrigued by extremely powerful quantum computers, quantum teleportation, and secure quantum communication in space,” the editors write. Indeed, they note, “usage of ‘quantum’ in popular movies, TV shows, newspapers, and some consumer goods made it saturate the air for almost everybody, although often with the meanings different from those in physics.” A preface of the book includes the history of the words “quantum”, “photon”, and “photonics”.

“The unique purpose of this book is to bring together the largely unreported history of experiments with single ‘light quanta’ (photons) and map it with its modern manifestations as one of the key drivers to the vibrant scientific field of quantum photonics. We seek to convey to the readers the state-of-the-art advances of modern developments in quantum photonics and nonlinear optics from the leading groups throughout the world.”

The book contains contributions of researchers from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Russia, Singapore, UK, and USA.

The chapters of Part I examine:

  1. how the concept of single-photon sources emerged in the mid 1980s.
  2. recent progress in the tomography of structured light fields, with an emphasis on the method of direct measurement.
  3. the most common sources of non-classical light and their applications.
  4. recent nanophotonic advances for room-temperature single-photon sources with photons exhibiting antibunching.
  5. how quantum information processing with photons can be greatly enhanced by incorporating time-multiplexing methods.
  6. how fundamental photon fluctuations are perceived by a live visual system.
  7. how coherent interactions in planar photonic metamaterials can facilitate nonlinear light-by-light control functions with THz bandwidth at arbitrarily low intensities.
  8. principles and various effects in nonlinear plasmonics and plasmonic metamaterials.
  9. nonlinear optics with elliptically polarized singular beams and short pulses in media with spatial dispersion.
  10. ultrafast nonlinear optics in the mid-infrared

Several other chapters (Part II) describe seminal single-photon and nonlinear optical experiments from the time when both lasers and today’s light detectors did not yet exist, and the photographic plate or the human eye served as single-photon detectors.

“We believe that this book will be useful for academics, researchers, engineers, and students in many disciplines who hope to learn more about the history of quantum and nonlinear optics and upcoming trends in quantum photonics and nonlinear optics,” the editors note.

“It looks just great and I think it will be of general interest,” says Scott Carney, director of the Institute of Optics. “And despite the technical-sounding title, it contains quite a lot of fascinating history.”