On integrated photonic quantum simulations

Biggerstaff, Devon (2015). On integrated photonic quantum simulations PhD Thesis, School of Mathematics and Physics, The University of Queensland. doi:10.14264/uql.2015.413

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Author Biggerstaff, Devon
Thesis Title On integrated photonic quantum simulations
School, Centre or Institute School of Mathematics and Physics
Institution The University of Queensland
DOI 10.14264/uql.2015.413
Publication date 2015-03-27
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Andrew White
Alessandro Fedrizzi
Ivan Kassal
Total pages 176
Language eng
Subjects 0205 Optical Physics
0206 Quantum Physics
Formatted abstract
Quantum information science has the potential to greatly enhance our capabilities for secure communication through quantum encryption and communication technologies; for measurement sensitivity through quantum metrology; and for certain computational tasks through quantum computers. In particular, simulations of complex quantum systems—using either quantum computers or other, better-controllable quantum systems—have the potential to greatly improve our understanding of the states and dynamics of processes such as the folding of proteins, dynamics in chemistry, and energy transport on molecular and cellular scales. This thesis concerns experimental quantum information science, in particular quantum simulations, conducted using classical and quantum states of light in arrays of coupled laser-written waveguides. Integrated quantum photonics, wherein optical quantum states are manipulated in waveguide arrays, will be crucial for the miniaturization and ultimate practical scalability of optical quantum simulation and computing. Such waveguide arrays are also particularly well-suited for some quantum simulations due to the similarity between the scalar, paraxial optical wave equation and Schrodinger’s equation for a bound quantum particle. 

Four experiments are described in this thesis where laser-written waveguide arrays are employed for optical quantum information science. Two of these concern waveguide optical simulations inspired by exciton transport dynamics in photosynthetic structures. For the first of these, we detail the design, modeling, and testing of a waveguide array for analog simulation of the Hamiltonian governing exciton dynamics in a particular bacterial photosynthetic subunit. We ultimately find that such a demanding simulation may exceed current capabilities in the rapidly-maturing field of laser-written waveguides, but the modeling and measurement techniques developed inform our further experiments. In the other such experiment we study an important quantum transport phenomenon, environmentally-assisted quantum transport (ENAQT), which is hypothesized to partially explain high energy transport in photosynthetic light-harvesting. We show that the transport efficiency of light in a specific disordered waveguide array can be enhanced through the addition of quantum decoherence which we implement by broadening the illumination bandwidth.

Another experiment concerns the behavior of two-photon states in a continuous-time quantum walk with periodic boundary conditions implemented in an elliptic waveguide array. We use results from classical-light characterization to predict the outcomes of measurements of two-photon correlations in the array. The final experiment in this thesis details the design, modeling, fabrication, and testing of laser-written unitary circuits for heralded two-photon entangling quantum gates. We study the action of such devices in the presence of fabrication imperfections, characterize our circuits using classical and quantum interference techniques, and show such circuits to be good candidates for heralded photonic gate fabrication. 
Keyword Photonics
Integrated optics
Quantum optics
Quantum information
Single photons

Document type: Thesis
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Created: Wed, 11 Mar 2015, 00:33:28 EST by Devon Biggerstaff on behalf of Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Service