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Phase shaping of single-photon wave packets


Although the phase of a coherent light field can be precisely known, this is not true for the phase of the individual photons that create the field, considered individually1. Phase changes within single-photon wave packets, however, have observable effects. In fact, actively controlling the phase of individual photons has been identified as a powerful resource for quantum communication protocols2,3. Here we demonstrate arbitrary phase control of a single photon. The phase modulation is applied without affecting the photon's amplitude profile and is verified by means of a two-photon quantum interference measurement4,5, demonstrating fermionic spatial behaviour of photon pairs. Combined with previously demonstrated control of a single photon's amplitude6,7,8,9,10, frequency11, and polarization12, the fully deterministic phase shaping presented here allows for the complete control of single-photon wave packets.

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Figure 1: Experimental apparatus.
Figure 2: Photon pair coincidences.
Figure 3: Coincidence rate versus applied phase shift.
Figure 4: Linear phase ramp.

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The authors thank S. Ritter for useful discussions on the manuscript. This work was partially supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Research Unit 635, Cluster of Excellence MAP) and the European Union (IST project SCALA). D.L.M. and E.F. acknowledge support from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

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Correspondence to D. L. Moehring.

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Specht, H., Bochmann, J., Mücke, M. et al. Phase shaping of single-photon wave packets. Nature Photon 3, 469–472 (2009).

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