CEFOP opens a new space for Physics

The divisions of Nonlinear Optics and Optical and Quantum Information have joined forces to enable a new laboratory at the University of Chile, where they hope to work on a joint research line could have important results. The project will fuse two exploration areas, the study of the propagation of light through photonic crystals with own experiments of quantum optics. In this case, the union makes science.

PhD. Rodrigo Vicencio, Department of Physics, University of Chile, said the laboratory would be installed in an old space dedicated to Solid State Physics, Faculty of Sciences of this university. “Unlike the first lab we build with CEFOP, very sophisticated and required a large investment, it would be small and simple, to develop a collaborative project specifically in the context of the Millennium Advanced Optics, directed by PhD. Aldo Delgado”. The laboratory would have a small optical table, a laser and experimental equipment, those has already been acquired and are expected to arrive in the country within the next few weeks. In parallel, work will begin to condition dependencies, with the expectation of having the new facility operational within two months. “Generate lines of collaboration between groups is one of the fundamental objectives of the Millennium and Basal. But doing things together is not trivial. So we want to allocate economic efforts and time to develop this research”, said Dr. Vicencio. “Over time, it could add another small optical table and make another series of experiments, so there are opportunities for growth. It is a relatively modest investment, but opens a promising field”, added Dr. Delgado.

The impetus for experimentation brings joy to researchers. “The best thing that can happen is to bring together theoretical and experimental physicists at the same place,” emphasized Dr. Delgado, who recalled that in Concepcion, Quantum Optics Laboratories were created at the request of theoretical researchers: “In Santiago are being the same conditions, there is a very competitive theory group, who has the desire to push through experimental physics in your area “. Professor Vicencio, meanwhile, stressed the “reuse” of the dependencies: “We want, in some way, that space is not lost from the experimental point of view of Physics”.

Tools to improve together

The purpose of the new laboratory is to explore a line that has emerged from observations made by Dr. Gustavo Lima, Division of Optics and Quantum Information, who used a photonic crystal provided by the Nonlinear Optics group of Santiago. “Their results showed that there is some dependence on the propagation behavior of light inside the photonic crystal with its polarization. This could have applications in the area of quantum information and quantum optics”, said Professor Delgado.

The group of Professor Vicencio is studying precisely the propagation of light in photonic crystals. “It’s like a metaphor for what happens in electronics. What the electrons propagate through a material which has a certain structure and this results in conduction or insulation properties, bases for the entire technology. However, we observe the passage of light in periodic materials with different crystal structures, which have the advantage that we can see the phenomena, something that does not occur in electronic systems “. Meanwhile, the group of Professor Delgado discusses the quantum properties of light, in particular, what happens when two entangled photons propagate. This type of photons has the distinction of being born from the same source, so that their properties are correlated: that happens to one affects the other. Therefore, it is important to note whether, after traveling a distance, this correlation is maintained.

The combined research of both groups allows knowing what happens to the twin photons, faced with “path” different. That is, “generating entangled photon pairs, and pass one by an orderly arrangement and the other by another crystal messy” says Dr. Vicencio. Professor Delgado details: “The idea is, if the photons that pass through each crystal are not related to each other, there is no relation either to measure them out of the glass. But if we pass entangled photons, we may be able to transfer part of the order of a crystal to the other disorder, and manipulate them in some way. “

Santiago Rojas, PhD student, is writing the appropriate theory to describe these experiments, which would open the path to generate a polarizing beam splitter. “It would be the first time you try to implement this type of dividers, hence the relevance of this work”, said Delgado. For now, the two groups are waiting for the opening of the new exhibition to launch to investigate.

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