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We realized the most fundamental quantum optical experiment to prove the non-classical character of light: Only a single quantum emitter and a single superconducting nanowire detector were used. A particular appeal of our experiment is its elegance and simplicity. Yet its results unambiguously enforce a quantum theory for light. Previous experiments relied on more complex setups, such as the Hanbury-Brown-Twiss configuration, where a beam splitter directs light to two photodetectors, giving the false impression that the beam splitter is required. Our work results in a major simplification of the widely used photon-correlation techniques with applications ranging from quantum information processing to single-molecule detection.

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Category: Science