Photons are critical to quantum technologies because they can be used for virtually all quantum information tasks, for example, in quantum metrology1, as the information carrier in photonic quantum computation2, 3, as a mediator in hybrid systems4, and to establish long-distance networks5. The physical characteristics of photons in these applications differ drastically; spectral bandwidths span 12 orders of magnitude from 50 THz (ref. 6) for quantum-optical coherence tomography7 to 50 Hz for certain quantum memories8. Combining these technologies requires coherent interfaces that reversibly map centre frequencies and bandwidths of photons to avoid excessive loss. Here, we demonstrate bandwidth compression of single photons by a factor of 40 as well as tunability over a range 70 times that bandwidth via sum-frequency generation with chirped laser pulses. This constitutes a time-to-frequency interface for light capable of converting time-bin to colour entanglement9, and enables ultrafast timing measurements. It is a step towards arbitrary waveform generation10 for single and entangled photons.
At a glance
- Entanglement-free Heisenberg-limited phase estimation. Nature 450, 393–396 (2007). , , , M. &
- Linear optical quantum computing with photonic qubits. Rev. Mod. Phys. 79, 135–174 (2007). et al.
- Photonic quantum simulators. Nature Phys. 8, 285–291 (2012). &
- Hybrid quantum devices and quantum engineering. Phys. Scr. 2009, 014001 (2009). , , , &
- Long-distance quantum communication with atomic ensembles and linear optics. Nature 414, 413–418 (2001). , , &
- Ultrabroadband biphotons generated via chirped quasi-phase-matched optical parametric down-conversion. Phys. Rev. Lett. 100, 183601 (2008). et al.
- Quantum-optical coherence tomography with dispersion cancellation. Phys. Rev. A 65, 053817 (2002). , , , &
- Photon-echo quantum memory in solid state systems. Laser Photon. Rev. 4, 244–267 (2010). et al.
- Discrete tunable color entanglement. Phys. Rev. Lett. 103, 253601 (2009). , , , &
- Quantum optical waveform conversion. Phys. Rev. Lett. 106, 130501 (2011). , &
- Invited review article: single-photon sources and detectors. Rev. Sci. Instrum. 82, 071101 (2011). , , &
- High efficiency coherent optical memory with warm rubidium vapour. Nature Commun. 2, 174 (2011). , , , &
- Observation of quantum frequency conversion. Phys. Rev. Lett. 68, 2153–2156 (1992). &
- High efficiency single photon detection via frequency up-conversion. J. Mod. Opt. 51, 1433–1445 (2004). &
- A photonic quantum information interface. Nature 437, 116–120 (2005). et al.
- Highly efficient single-photon detection at communication wavelengths by use of upconversion in reverse-proton-exchanged periodically poled LiNbO3 waveguides. Opt. Lett. 30, 1725–1727 (2005). et al.
- Polarization-entanglement-conserving frequency conversion of photons. Phys. Rev. A 85, 013845 (2012). , , , &
- Simultaneous wavelength translation and amplitude modulation of single photons from a quantum dot. Phys. Rev. Lett. 107, 083602 (2011). et al.
- Quantum frequency translation of single-photon states in a photonic crystal fiber. Phys. Rev. Lett. 105, 093604 (2010). , , &
- Entanglement of light-shift compensated atomic spin waves with telecom light. Phys. Rev. Lett. 105, 260502 (2010). et al.
- Long-wavelength-pumped upconversion single-photon detector at 1550 nm: performance and noise analysis. Opt. Express 19, 21445–21456 (2011). et al.
- Optical quantum memory. Nature Photon. 3, 706–714 (2009). , &
- Observation of coherent optical information storage in an atomic medium using halted light pulses. Nature 409, 490–493 (2001). , , &
- 2008). Nonlinear Optics 3rd edn (Academic Press,
- Efficient generation of narrow-bandwidth picosecond pulses by frequency doubling of femtosecond chirped pulses. Opt. Lett. 23, 1117–1119 (1998). et al.
- Efficient tuneable bandwidth frequency mixing using chirped pulses. Opt. Commun. 166, 113–119 (1999). &
- Generation of narrow-bandwidth tunable picosecond pulses by difference-frequency mixing of stretched pulses. J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 16, 1561–1565 (1999). &
- Quantum memories. Eur. Phys. J. D 58, 1–22 (2010). et al.
- Towards high-speed optical quantum memories. Nature Photon. 4, 218–221 (2010). et al.
- A quantum pulse gate based on spectrally engineered sum frequency generation. Opt. Express 19, 13770–13778 (2011). , &
- Nonlocal dispersion cancellation using entangled photons. Opt. Express 17, 19241–19252 (2009). , &
- Optical pulse compression with diffraction gratings. IEEE J. Quantum Electron. 5, 454–458 (1969).
- 2006). & Ultrashort Laser Pulse Phenomena 2nd edn (Academic Press,
- Supplementary information (824 KB)