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Quantum Plasmonics

Periodic Report Summary 1 - QUANTUM PLASMONICS (Quantum Plasmonics)

This project was aimed at unravelling the quantum properties of Surface Plasmon Polaritons (SPPs), thanks to an experimental approach used by only a couple of groups in Europe. It involves the use of tools common in the Quantum Optics community, but not familiar to the Plasmonics community, to investigate the still little known properties of SPPs in the quantum regime.
SPPs, thanks to their ability to highly confine the electromagnetic field, are expected to have applications in quantum optics, computing, and to foster photon-photon interactions at nanometric scales. However, whether they will truly lead to viable applications is controversial at present, because the benefits of SPPs come at the cost of high losses. Very little is known about SPPs in the quantum regime, and this project proposed to fully investigate their potential. The study should have used an “intense” single photon source using nonlinear processes in a crystal, which produces photon pairs entangled on the polarisation. The single photons are coupled into single SPPs thanks to a microscopy setup, and to appropriate design of the plasmonic devices. After undergoing the operation performed by the device, the single SPPs are then coupled back into photons and the measurements are performed on these photons. Dedicated plasmonic devices would have been produced to generate entanglement on ultrasmall scales and the quality of the entanglement quantified.