First Photonic Router Created
The ability to controllably route information is fundamental to electronic computers, and is similarly necessary for future quantum computers. Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have recently created the world's first photonic router, capable of routing photons based on photonic signals.
The router works by switching the state of an atom caught in a trap. In one state, the atom will allow photons coming from the right to pass on, but will reflect photons coming from the left. When it reflects a photon though, its state will flip and now photons from the left will pass on while photons from the right are reflected, and trigger another switch. The photons from the right and left are coming from optical fibers, which have been coupled to ultra-high quality, miniature optical resonators.
As photons are capable of carrying quantum information and relatively protected from interactions that would destroy the information, this system could prove invaluable for quantum computers. Next the researchers want to work on other kinds of devices, such as quantum memory or logic gates, and see if they too can be made to function only with photons.
Source: Weizmann Institute of Science