Development of an all-fibre source of heralded single photons

  • Alex Mcmillan

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


The preparation of single photons in a pure quantum state is a subject of great interest in physics, enabling the control of light at an unprecedented level. The ease with which certain degrees of freedom of photon states, such as polarisation, can be manipulated, along with the inherent resilience of photons to decoherence, makes them well suited for use as qubits. Recent rapid developments in the transmission and processing of quantum information, as well as the likely technological impact of potential real-world applications such as quantum cryptography and quantum computation, mean that the demand for high performance single photon sources is likely to increase in the near future. One approach to producing single photon states, which are known to be in a well-defined spatio-temporal mode without destructively measuring them, is to take advantage of nonlinear optics. Nonlinear processes can be used to realise frequency conversion by generating a single, correlated pair of photons from an intense pump laser source. The detection of one of the photons from a pair can then be used to indicate the presence of the other photon in the pair, a procedure known as heralding. This thesis describes the development of a source of heralded single photons at 1550 nm, generated directly in the core of a photonic crystal fibre (PCF). By taking advantage of low loss fibre components for the required spectral filtering of the generated photon state, a heralding fidelity of 52% was achieved. The source was designed to be used with a picosecond pulsed fibre laser, making it relatively low cost and maintenance free. With 148 mW of average pump power a heralded output photon rate of 6.4 × 104 s-1 was observed, demonstrating the brightness of the source. The purity of the generated single photons was established by measuring non-classical interference, with a visibility of 70%, between the photons output from this source and a source based on a PPLN waveguide. The fabrication of a series of birefringent PCFs for the generation of spectrally pure state photons at 1550 nm is also discussed. These PCFs will be useful for incorporation in the next generation of high performance, fibre-based photon sources.
Date of Award31 Mar 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorWilliam Wadsworth (Supervisor)


  • photon
  • quantum information
  • photonic crystal fiber
  • Nonlinear optics
  • four-wave mixing

Cite this