Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Microwave Photons

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Microwave Photons

Article excerpt

A milestone toward the realization of a large-scale quantum computer, and further demonstration of a new level of the quantum control of light, were accomplished by a team of scientists at the University of California--Santa Barbara (UCSB) and in China and Japan.

The study, published in the journal Physical Review Letters, involved scientists from Zhejiang University in China, and NEC Corporation in Japan. The experimental effort was pursued in the research groups of UCSB physics professors Andrew Cleland and John Martinis.

The team described how they used a superconducting quantum integrated circuit to generate unique quantum states of light known as "NOON states." These states, generated from microwave frequency photons--the quantum unit of light--were created and stored in two physically separated microwave storage cavities, explains first author Haohua Wang, postdoctoral fellow in physics at UCSB.

The quantum NOON states were created using one, two, or three photons, with all the photons in one cavity, leaving the other cavity empty. This was simultaneous with the first cavity being empty, with all the photons stored in the second cavity.


"This seemingly impossible situation, allowed by quantum mechanics, led to interesting results when we looked inside the cavities," says second author Matteo Mariantoni, postdoctoral fellow in physics at UCSB. …

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