Fiber optic cables have been turned into a quantum lab: Scientists are trying to build optical switches at the smallest possible scale in order to manipulate light. At the Vienna Univ. of Technology, this can now be done using a single atom. Conventional glass fiber cables, which are used for internet data transfer, can be interconnected by tiny quantum systems.
Light in a bottle
Professor Arno Rauschenbeutel and his team at the Vienna Univ. of Technology capture light in so-called “bottle resonators”. At the surface of these bulgy glass objects, light runs in circles. If such a resonator is brought into the vicinity of a glass fibre which is carrying light, the two systems couple and light can cross over from the glass fiber into the bottle resonator.
“When the circumference of the resonator matches the wavelength of the light, we can make one hundred percent of the light from the glass fibre go into the bottle resonator—and from there it can move on into a second glass fiber,” explains Arno Rauschenbeutel.To read more, click here.