Editor's Summary

2 July 2009

Quantum optical transistors


Quantum information processing systems and related technologies are likely to involve switching and amplification functions in ultrasmall objects such as nanotubes. In today's electronic devices the transistor performs these functions. A 'quantum age' equivalent of the conventional transistor would, ideally, use photons rather than electrons as information carriers because of their speed and robustness against decoherence. But robustness also stops them being easily controlled. Now a team from optETH and ETH in Zurich demonstrates the realization of a single-molecule optical transistor. In it, a single dye molecule coherently attenuates or amplifies a tightly focused laser beam, depending on the power of a second 'gating' beam.

News and ViewsNanooptics: Photons pushed together

Photons don't interact well with each other, which is a real headache for researchers developing all-optical transistors for computing applications. But a single molecule can mediate photon–photon affairs.

Michel Orrit

doi:10.1038/460042a

LetterA single-molecule optical transistor

J. Hwang, M. Pototschnig, R. Lettow, G. Zumofen, A. Renn, S. Götzinger & V. Sandoghdar

doi:10.1038/nature08134