Letter abstract

Nature Photonics 3, 95 - 98 (2009)
Published online: 25 January 2009 | doi:10.1038/nphoton.2008.292

Subject Categories: Quantum optics | Nonlinear optics | Fibre optics and optical communications

Observation of optical-fibre Kerr nonlinearity at the single-photon level

Nobuyuki Matsuda1,2, Ryosuke Shimizu2,3, Yasuyoshi Mitsumori1,2, Hideo Kosaka1,2 & Keiichi Edamatsu1,2

Optical fibres have proved to be an important medium for manipulating and generating light in applications including soliton transmission1, light amplification2, all-optical switching3 and supercontinuum generation4. In the quantum regime, fibres may prove useful for ultralow-power all-optical signal processing5 and quantum information processing6. Here, we demonstrate the first experimental observation of optical nonlinearity at the single-photon level in an optical fibre. Taking advantage of the large nonlinearity and managed dispersion of photonic crystal fibres7, 8, we report very small (1 times 10-7 to approxtimes 10-8 rad) conditional phase shifts induced by weak coherent pulses that contain one or less than one photon per pulse on average. We discuss the feasibility of quantum information processing using optical fibres, taking into account the observed Kerr nonlinearity, accompanied by ultrafast response time and low induced loss.

  1. Research Institute of Electrical Communication, Tohoku University, Sendai, Miyagi 980-8577, Japan
  2. CREST, Japan Science and Technology Agency, 4-1-8 Honmachi, Kawaguchi, Saitama 332-0012, Japan
  3. PRESTO, Japan Science and Technology Agency, 4-1-8 Honmachi, Kawaguchi, Saitama 332-0012, Japan

Correspondence to: Nobuyuki Matsuda1,2 e-mail: matsuda@quantum.riec.tohoku.ac.jp


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