Cavity-Free scheme for nondestructive detection of a single optical photon

Keyu Xia, Mattias Johnsson, Peter L. Knight, Jason Twamley

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48 Citations (Scopus)
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Detecting a single photon without absorbing it is a long-standing challenge in quantum optics. All experiments demonstrating the nondestructive detection of a photon make use of a high quality cavity. We present a cavity-free scheme for nondestructive single-photon detection. By pumping a nonlinear medium we implement an interfield Rabi oscillation which leads to a ∼π phase shift on a weak probe coherent laser field in the presence of a single signal photon without destroying the signal photon. Our cavity-free scheme operates with a fast intrinsic time scale in comparison with similar cavity-based schemes. We implement a full real-space multimode numerical analysis of the interacting photonic modes and confirm the validity of our nondestructive scheme in the multimode case.

Original languageEnglish
Article number023601
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

Xia, K., Johnsson, M., Knight, P. L., Twamley, J., Physical review letters, 116(2), 023601, 2016. Copyright 2016 by the American Physical Society. The original article can be found at


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