Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


QCUMbER Report Summary

Project ID: 665148
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.2.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - QCUMbER (Quantum Controlled Ultrafast Multimode Entanglement and Measurement)

Reporting period: 2015-09-01 to 2016-08-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

QCUMbER is a Research and Innovation Action that explores novel foundations for radically new future technologies based upon the quantum behavior of ultrashort light pulses. Optical pulses with duration of picoseconds (one trillionth of a second) or less have enabled the study and control of system dynamics, such as electronic motion within atoms and molecules, while highly stable trains of pulses have provided a platform for extremely precise measurements. Similarly, exploitation of the quantum behavior of light has enabled experimental probing of fundamental physics and led to the creation of the fields of quantum communication and sensing. The QCUMbER project aims to merge these fields by establishing the foundational scientific underpinnings for ultrashort quantum light pulses and demonstrate essential proofs-of-principle applications.
To achieve these overarching goals the project objectives are focused on developing means to generate, control and measure highly multimode spectral-temporal quantum states of light and on establishing the underpinning theory needed to describe ultrashort quantum light pulses. This scientific framework provides the basis to demonstrate the impact of such quantum systems of ultrashort light pulses for quantum technologies.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

During the first 12 months of the project the consortium has focused efforts on four fundamental objectives: the development of quantum light sources with targeted pulse-mode structure, methods to modify their non-classical quantum state, techniques for measuring such quantum states, and the underlying theoretical framework to describe these non-classical pulse-mode states of light. The work is carried by the four corresponding work packages Sources, Manipulation, Detection, and Underpinning Theory. The fifth work package, Applications, which will start in the next reporting period, will harness the advances made in work packages 1-4 to realize three quantum technologies. In addition, two administrative work packages provide support to the project: Management is aimed at coordinating and monitoring the work, managing scientific risks, and reporting to the commission, and Dissemination and Impact is focused on communicating the project results and maximizing impact of the work.
Sources: The ability to reliably generate quantum states of light with a well-defined spectral-temporal mode structure is a central resource for this project and the associated photonic quantum technologies. During the initial 12 months of the project we have developed different approaches to generating trains of ultrafast pulses with a variety of quantum states that are optimized for our target applications. These differ in wavelength and pulse durations, but all approaches are based upon nonlinear optical techniques. The main results for this period include generation and preliminary characterization of narrow-bandwidth photon pairs for quantum memories and pulsed multimode squeezed light sources at both near infrared and telecommunications wavelengths.
Manipulation: Control and manipulation of the pulse-mode structure of light is often based on spectral filters, which destroy the fragile quantum characteristics of non-classical states. This highlights a key ingredient required to manipulate the spectral-temporal modes of quantum pulses – lossless and coherent operations. During the first 12 months of the project we have developed various suitable techniques based upon dynamic phase modulation with electro-optic modulators, nonlinear optics, and quantum memories. Key results include the demonstration of quantum-pulse-gating of single-photon states, single-photon pulse-mode shaping by application of well-controlled dynamic phase, and progress towards quantum-memory based temporal-mode manipulation.
Detection: Harnessing potential advances offered by quantum correlations across multiple pulse-modes of light requires a new generation of quantum detectors capable of registering this multiplicity of modes. We have pursued two general approaches to implement such detectors. The first relies on interfering the quantum optical state of light with a known reference field and then examining the interference pattern as the reference is scanned. The second relies on the pulse manipulation techniques of the quantum pulse gate and temporal phase modulation to perform known operations on the unknown quantum pulses followed by direct detection. The key results are the characterization of multimode, multi-photon entangled light, and single-photon pulse-mode reconstruction.
Underpinning Theory: An underlying theoretical description is indispensable for understanding and quantifying the multimode quantum features of the states, coherent manipulation methods and detectors developed during the project. Work here has been directed at establishing the foundational theory to describe such complex quantum pulses containing more-than-one photons. The key results include developing methods to analyze the non-classical property of quantum systems known as entanglement, essential to the performance enhancement for quantum technologies. Entangled systems display correlations that cannot be described using classical physics. In addition, the partners have developed theoretical methods to perform quantum-enhanced precision metrology, means to manipulate the quantum state of pulse modes of light by measurement induced back action, and the behaviour of different approaches to realize a time lens when acting on quantum light.
Applications: To demonstrate the technical advances enabled by this project, we will harness our experimental and theoretical developments to realize applications in three areas of quantum technologies: quantum computation, quantum communication, and quantum-enhanced sensing. Although Applications was originally scheduled to begin in month 19, work toward quantum-enhanced sensing has been brought forward to mitigate the impact of an equipment failure at one of the partner institutions.
Within the administrative work packages, the main achievements include organization of two consortium-wide meetings, creation of the project logo and website, performing continued monitoring of progress and feedback on potential risks, and exploring strategies for broad dissemination activities.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The QCUMbER project has made significant progress beyond the state of the art in the essential building blocks for optical quantum technologies based upon pulsed modes, namely the development of methods to create, manipulate and detect highly multimode spectral-temporal quantum states of light and establishing the underpinning theory needed to describe ultrashort quantum light pulses.
Quantum photonics and quantum information technologies utilizing time-frequency states of light have the potential to provide a game changing approach to optical quantum technologies, opening new avenues for exploitation and making direct impact on European photonics industries. QCUMbER aims to usher in a new paradigm of quantum photonics that will alter future research directions by harnessing multimode time-frequency quantum states of light for quantum technologies. From the scientific point of view, QCUMbER brings together European leaders in multimode time-frequency optical quantum systems, coordinates the actions of its partners, and facilitates interaction with industry. The consortium will develop the experimental and theoretical tools to realize the full potential of photonic quantum technologies and initiate future innovations in this emerging field of research and development.

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