Direct generation of photon triplets using cascaded photon-pair sources

Author(s): H. Hübel, D. R. Hamel, A. Fedrizzi, S. Ramelow, K. J. Resch, T. Jennewein

Journal: Nature

Volume: 466

Page(s): 601-603

Year: 2010

DOI Number: 10.1038/nature09175

Link: Link to publication


Non-classical states of light, such as entangled photon pairs and number states, are essential for fundamental tests of quantum mechanics and optical quantum technologies. The most widespread technique for creating these quantum resources is the spontaneous parametric down-conversion (SPDC) of laser light into photon pairs. Conservation of energy and momentum in this process, known as phase-matching, gives rise to strong correlations which are used to produce two-photon entanglement in various degrees of freedom. It has been a longstanding goal of the quantum optics community to realise a source that can produce analogous correlations in photon triplets, but of the many approaches considered, none have been technically feasible. In this paper we report the observation of photon triplets generated by cascaded down-conversion. Here each triplet originates from a single pump photon, and therefore quantum correlations will extend over all three photons in a way not achievable with independently created photon pairs. We expect our photon-triplet source to open up new avenues of quantum optics and become an important tool in quantum technologies. Our source will allow experimental interrogation of novel quantum correlations, the post-selection free generation of tripartite entanglement without post- selection and the generation of heralded entangled-photon pairs suitable for linear optical quantum computing. Two of the triplet photons have a wavelength matched for optimal transmission in optical fibres, ideally suited for three-party quantum communication. Furthermore, our results open interesting regimes of non-linear optics, as we observe spontaneous down-conversion pumped by single photons, an interaction also highly relevant to optical quantum computing.


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