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U of T physicists squeeze light to quantum limit
Date:1/6/2009

A team of University of Toronto physicists have demonstrated a new technique to squeeze light to the fundamental quantum limit, a finding that has potential applications for high-precision measurement, next-generation atomic clocks, novel quantum computing and our most fundamental understanding of the universe.

Krister Shalm, Rob Adamson and Aephraim Steinberg of U of Ts Department of Physics and Centre for Quantum Information and Quantum Control, publish their findings in the January 1 issue of the prestigious international journal Nature.

"Precise measurement lies at the heart of all experimental science: the more accurately we can measure something the more information we can obtain. In the quantum world, where things get ever-smaller, accuracy of measurement becomes more and more elusive," explains PhD graduate student Krister Shalm.

Light is one of the most precise measuring tools in physics and has been used to probe fundamental questions in science ranging from special relativity to questions concerning quantum gravity.. But light has its limits in the world of modern quantum technology.

The smallest particle of light is a photon and it is so small that an ordinary light bulb emits billions of photons in a trillionth of a second.. "Despite the unimaginably effervescent nature of these tiny particles, modern quantum technologies rely on single photons to store and manipulate information. But uncertainty, also known as quantum noise, gets in the way of the information," explains Professor Aephraim Steinberg.

Squeezing is a way to increase certainty in one quantity such as position or speed but it does so at a cost. "If you squeeze the certainty of one property that is of particular interest, the uncertainty of another complementary property invevitably grows," he says.

In the U of T experiment, the physicists combined three separate photons of light
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Contact: Kim Luke
kim.luke@utoronto.ca
416-978-4352
University of Toronto
Source:Eurekalert

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