Four-Wave Mixing in Single-Mode Optical Fibers

Alex McMillan*, Yu Ping Huang, Bryn Bell, Alex Clark, Prem Kumar, John Rarity

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Scopus citations


The efficient generation of single photon and entangled photon states is of considerable interest both for fundamental studies of quantum mechanics and practical applications, such as quantum communications and computation. It is now well known that correlated pairs of photons suitable for such applications can be generated directly in a guided mode of an optical fiber through the nonlinear process of spontaneous four-wave mixing. Detection of one photon of the pair can be used to herald the presence of the other, in order to realise a probabilistic heralded single photon source. Alternatively, both photons can be used directly as an entangled photon pair if the source is designed such that the two photons are correlated in one or more of their degrees of freedom.This chapter provides an overview of the progress that has been made into the development of photon sources based on four-wave mixing in optical fibers. A theoretical model of four-wave mixing is described in Section 12.2, which demonstrates how the dispersion characteristics of an optical fiber influence the properties of the photon pair state that is generated. Section 12.3 focusses on heralded single photon sources operating in both the anomalous and normal dispersion regimes of optical fiber, and highlights several experimental demonstrations of this type of source. Section 12.4 discusses the concept of non-classical interference and the parameters of the generated photons that can influence the interference visibility. Section 12.5 expands upon this discussion to consider two different approaches for preparing photons in pure states that have been used to demonstrate high visibility two-photon interference. Section 12.6 describes several different experimental implementations of entangled photon pair sources. Finally, two practical applications using fiber-based photon sources are presented, with an all-fiber, quantum controlled-NOT gate discussed in Section 12.7, and the potential to use photonic fusion to build up large photonic cluster states outlined in Section 12.8.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationExperimental Methods in the Physical Sciences
PublisherAcademic Press
Number of pages55
StatePublished - 2013

Publication series

NameExperimental Methods in the Physical Sciences
ISSN (Print)1079-4042


  • CNOT gate
  • Entangled photon pairs
  • Four-wave mixing
  • Heralded single photons
  • Hong-Ou-Mandel interference
  • Optical fiber
  • Photonic crystal fiber
  • Photonic fusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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