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Ultrabright source of entangled photon pairs


A source of triggered entangled photon pairs is a key component in quantum information science1; it is needed to implement functions such as linear quantum computation2, entanglement swapping3 and quantum teleportation4. Generation of polarization entangled photon pairs can be obtained through parametric conversion in nonlinear optical media5,6,7 or by making use of the radiative decay of two electron–hole pairs trapped in a semiconductor quantum dot8,9,10,11. Today, these sources operate at a very low rate, below 0.01 photon pairs per excitation pulse, which strongly limits their applications. For systems based on parametric conversion, this low rate is intrinsically due to the Poissonian statistics of the source12. Conversely, a quantum dot can emit a single pair of entangled photons with a probability near unity but suffers from a naturally very low extraction efficiency. Here we show that this drawback can be overcome by coupling an optical cavity in the form of a ‘photonic molecule’13 to a single quantum dot. Two coupled identical pillars—the photonic molecule—were etched in a semiconductor planar microcavity, using an optical lithography method14 that ensures a deterministic coupling to the biexciton and exciton energy states of a pre-selected quantum dot. The Purcell effect ensures that most entangled photon pairs are emitted into two cavity modes, while improving the indistinguishability of the two optical recombination paths15,16. A polarization entangled photon pair rate of 0.12 per excitation pulse (with a concurrence of 0.34) is collected in the first lens. Our results open the way towards the fabrication of solid state triggered sources of entangled photon pairs, with an overall (creation and collection) efficiency of 80%.

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Figure 1: Principle of photon extraction using a photonic molecule.
Figure 2: Polarization properties of modes of the photonic molecule.
Figure 3: Photon correlation measurements on molecule B.
Figure 4: Characterization of the source: entanglement and brightness.

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This work was partly supported by the European Project NanoEPR and by the French ANR P3N DELIGHT. We acknowledge A. Calvar and M. Larqué for help with experiments, N. Dupuis for help with molecule modelling theory and I. Robert-Philip for discussions. A.B. acknowledges discussions with B. Kraus and S. Iblisdir.

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Authors and Affiliations



A.D. and P.S. were involved in all steps of this work. J.S. ran quantum dot anisotropic exchange splitting measurements and participated in photon correlation measurements. A.B., O.K. and P.V. helped with the correlation experimental set-up and participated in data analysis. P.V. also participated in the theoretical study of photonic molecules. A.L. grew the samples. I.S. etched the micropillars and J.B. implemented the radiation pattern measurements. All authors participated in scientific discussions and manuscript preparation.

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Correspondence to Pascale Senellart.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Dousse, A., Suffczyński, J., Beveratos, A. et al. Ultrabright source of entangled photon pairs. Nature 466, 217–220 (2010).

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