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Quantum solitons

Journal Article:

Abstract

Two of the most remarkable properties of light - squeezing and solitons - are being combined in a new generation of experiments that could revolutionize optics and communications. One area of application concerns the transmission and processing of classical (binary) information, in which the presence or absence of a soliton in a time-window corresponds to a ''1'' or ''0'', as in traditional optical-fibre communications. However, since solitons occur at fixed power levels, we do not have the luxury of being able to crank up the input power to improve the signal-to-noise ratio at the receiving end. Nevertheless, the exploitation of quantum effects such as squeezing could help to reduce noise and improve fidelity. In long-distance communications, where the signal is amplified every 50-100 kilometres or so, the soliton pulse is strongest just after the amplifier. Luckily this is where the bulk of the nonlinear interaction needed to maintain the soliton shape occurs. However, the pulse gets weaker as it propagates along the fibre, so the nonlinear interaction also becomes weakerand weaker. This means that dispersive effects become dominant until the next stage of amplification, where the nonlinearity takes over again. One problem is that quantum fluctuations in the amplifiers lead  More>>
Authors:
Abram, I [1] 
  1. Centre National d'Etudes des Telecommunications (CNET), 196 Avenue Henri Ravera, F-92220 Bagneux (France)
Publication Date:
Feb 01, 1999
Product Type:
Journal Article
Reference Number:
EDB-00:079530
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Physics World; Journal Volume: 12; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: IAEA; PBD: Feb 1999
Subject:
71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS; COMMUNICATIONS; COMPUTERS; INFORMATION THEORY; NONLINEAR PROBLEMS; QUANTUM MECHANICS; SOLITONS; SWITCHES
OSTI ID:
20087124
Country of Origin:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Other Identifying Numbers:
Journal ID: ISSN 0953-8585; PHWOEW; TRN: GB00$1121039428
Submitting Site:
GBN
Size:
vp.
Announcement Date:
Mar 08, 2001

Journal Article:

Citation Formats

Abram, I. Quantum solitons. United Kingdom: N. p., 1999. Web.
Abram, I. Quantum solitons. United Kingdom.
Abram, I. 1999. "Quantum solitons." United Kingdom.
@misc{etde_20087124,
title = {Quantum solitons}
author = {Abram, I}
abstractNote = {Two of the most remarkable properties of light - squeezing and solitons - are being combined in a new generation of experiments that could revolutionize optics and communications. One area of application concerns the transmission and processing of classical (binary) information, in which the presence or absence of a soliton in a time-window corresponds to a ''1'' or ''0'', as in traditional optical-fibre communications. However, since solitons occur at fixed power levels, we do not have the luxury of being able to crank up the input power to improve the signal-to-noise ratio at the receiving end. Nevertheless, the exploitation of quantum effects such as squeezing could help to reduce noise and improve fidelity. In long-distance communications, where the signal is amplified every 50-100 kilometres or so, the soliton pulse is strongest just after the amplifier. Luckily this is where the bulk of the nonlinear interaction needed to maintain the soliton shape occurs. However, the pulse gets weaker as it propagates along the fibre, so the nonlinear interaction also becomes weakerand weaker. This means that dispersive effects become dominant until the next stage of amplification, where the nonlinearity takes over again. One problem is that quantum fluctuations in the amplifiers lead to random jumps in the central wavelength of the individual solitons, and this results in a random variation of the speed of individual solitons in the fibre. Several schemes have been devised to remove this excess noise and bring the train of solitons back to the orderly behaviour characteristic of a stable coherent state (e.g. the solitons could be passed through a spectral filter). Photon-number squeezing could also play a key role in solving this problem. For example, if the solitons are number-squeezed immediately after amplification, there will be a smaller uncertainty in the nonlinearity that keeps the soliton in shape and, therefore, there will also be less noise in the soliton. This results in an improvement in the bit-error rate of the transmission. The fact that squeezing does not survive attenuation does not matter in this case, since it is alive during the nonlinear interaction when it is needed. Another possible application of squeezed solitons would be in switching devices and logic gates based on soliton interactions, such as the fibre-end devices for signal processing in telecommunications developed by Mohamed Islam at AT and T in the US in the early 1990s. The use of number-squeezing would allow collisions between solitons to be controlled to high precision, thus significantly reducing the error rate of these devices. Solitons and quantum information It might also be possible to use solitons in the processing of quantum information. Quantum information is an emerging field of physics that takes advantage of phenomena that are particular to quantum mechanics such as uncertainty, superposition and entanglement to code, transmit or process information (see Physics World March 1998). Recent highlights in this field include quantum cryptography (which can be used to achieve unconditionally secure key distribution) and quantum computing, which considerably speeds up the solution of problems that are exponentially difficult. These problems include the factorization of large numbers and searches of large databases. Although most proposals for processing quantum information to date concentrate on single-photon or single-spin implementations, optical solitons may offer an alternative that is easier to handle experimentally, yet still provides many of the basic quantum features that are displayed by single quanta. This could lead to new paradigms for computation and communications. In particular, the existence of quantum correlations in the fluctuations of the spectral and temporal sidebands of the solitons turns them into macroscopic quantum objects with internal entanglement. If these internal quantum correlations can be tailored into prescribed patterns, it might be possible to use solitons as ''quantum signatures'' and have completely secure transmissions. Another interesting feature is that the interaction of two solitons puts them into an ''entangled'' state in which quantum mechanical correlations (''brotherly bonds'') exist between two spatially separated objects. This has already been exploited for quantum non-demolition measurements by Friberg's group at NTT, and could also possibly lead to quantum devices such as ''controlled-NOT'' gates. These gates form the basis of quantum computing. The possibilities that are opened up by the quantum mechanical nature of the optical soliton, and by the exploitation of the brotherly bonds that exist among its photons, are vast but still too early to assess. We can expect, nevertheless, that the research on the quantum properties of solitons will have a large impact on information transmission and processing. (author) (abstract truncated)}
journal = {Physics World}
issue = {2}
volume = {12}
journal type = {AC}
place = {United Kingdom}
year = {1999}
month = {Feb}
}