Revolutionary quantum leap: physicists turned Schrödinger’s cat upside down

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(ORDO NEWS) — Researchers from the Faculty of Physics at the University of Warsaw, in collaboration with experts from the QOT Center for Quantum Optical Technologies, have successfully performed the fractional Fourier transform of optical pulses using quantum memory.

This innovative technique is the first experimental implementation of conversion in systems of this type. The research results were published in the prestigious journal Physical Review Letters.

Concept of waves and Fourier transform

Waves such as light have unique properties that determine their characteristics, including the duration and frequency of the pulse. These properties are related to each other using a mathematical operation known as the Fourier transform. This operation allows us to move from describing a wave in time to describing its spectrum in frequencies.

The fractional Fourier transform is an extension of the Fourier transform that allows a partial transition from a description in time to a description in frequency. Conceptually, it can be thought of as a rotation of the signal distribution in the time-frequency domain.

Application and meaning

Transforms like the fractional Fourier transform have proven valuable in creating specialized time-spectral filters to remove noise and in developing algorithms that exploit the quantum nature of light to accurately distinguish between pulses of different frequencies. This has significant implications for areas such as spectroscopy and telecommunications.

Spectroscopy plays a vital role in studying the chemical properties of matter, and the ability to use quantum properties increases the accuracy and reliability of the analysis of spectral data.

In telecommunications, where high accuracy and speed are of paramount importance, the use of quantum memory to distinguish between different frequency pulses can significantly improve the transmission and processing of information.

The role of lenses in the Fourier transform

The concept of lenses is integral to understanding the Fourier transform. For example, a glass lens can focus a monochromatic beam of light to one point by changing the angle of incidence. By changing this angle, you can change the focus position.

This behavior of the lens allows angles of incidence to be converted into positions, effectively simulating the principles of the Fourier transform in the space of directions and positions.

Time and frequency lenses work in a similar way to glass lenses, allowing you to transform the duration of a pulse into its spectral distribution or perform a Fourier transform in time and frequency space. By carefully selecting the power of these lenses, it becomes possible to perform a fractional Fourier transform.

In the case of optical pulses, this involves quadratic phase superposition on the signal.

Quotes and expert opinions

Dr. Anna Fraczek, a researcher at the Faculty of Physics at the University of Warsaw, shares her opinion on the significance of the result: “Our experimental implementation of the fractional Fourier transform using quantum memory opens up new possibilities for the manipulation and analysis of optical pulses. This technique has the potential to revolutionize fields such as spectroscopy and telecommunications by increasing precision and enabling more efficient signal processing.”

Professor Marek Kus, Director of the QOT Center for Quantum Optical Technologies, adds: “The successful implementation of this transformation using quantum memory is testament to the enormous potential of quantum technologies in the development of various scientific disciplines. It demonstrates the power of interdisciplinary collaboration and paves the way for further exploration of applications using quantum technologies”.


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