Two teams of scientists from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology collaborated to conduct monumental research to discover an innovative new scientific field: Quantum Metamaterials. The findings are presented in a paper published by the prominent journal Science.
Previously, experiments with metamaterials was widely limited to manipulations using classical light. The researchers demonstrated for the first time that it is plausible to apply the field of quantum information and computing to metamaterials, allowing for multiple practical uses such as the development of unbreakable encryptions, in addition to fresh ways for quantum information systems stored on a chip.
Metamaterials are artificially fabricated materials made up of many artificial nano-scale structures to respond to light in numerous ways. Metasurfaces are “the 2-D version of metamaterials: extremely thin surfaces made up of numerous sub-wavelength optical nano-antennas, each designed to serve a specific function upon the interaction with light,” according to a statement from the American Technion Society.
“More specifically, the researchers have demonstrated the use of metamaterials to generate and manipulate entanglement, which is the most crucial feature of any quantum information scheme,” it added.
The joint study was conducted by Mordechai Segev, a distinguished professor in the Technion’s Physics Department and Solid State Institute, along with Tomer Stav and Dikla Oren; and Erez Hasman, a member of the Technion’s Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, accommodated by Arkady Faerman, Elhanan Maguid and Vladimir Kleiner.
“What we did in this experiment is to bring the field of metamaterials to the realm of quantum information,” explained Segev. “With today’s technology, one can design and fabricate materials with electromagnetic properties that are almost arbitrary.”
“For example, one can design and fabricate an invisibility cloak that can conceal little things from radar, or one can create a medium where the light bends backwards,” he continued. “But so far, all of this was done with classical light. What we show here is how to harness the superb abilities of artificial nano-designed materials to generate and control quantum light.”