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Wieczorek, Witlef (2009): Multi-Photon Entanglement: Experimental Observation, Characterization, and Application of up to Six-Photon Entangled States. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Physics
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Abstract

Major efforts in quantum information science are devoted to the development of methods that are superior to the one of classical information processing, for example the quantum computer or quantum simulations. For these purposes, superposition and entangled states are considered a decisive resource. Furthermore, since the early days of quantum mechanics, entanglement has revealed the discrepancy between the quantum mechanical and the everyday life perception of the physical world. This combination of fundamental science and application-oriented research makes the realization, characterization, and application of entanglement a challenge pursued by many researchers. In this work, the observation of entangled states of polarization encoded photonic qubits is pushed forward in two directions: flexibility in state observation and increase in photon rate. To achieve flexibility two different schemes are developed: setup-based and entanglement-based observation of inequivalent multi-photon states. The setup-based scheme relies on multi-photon interference at a polarizing beam splitter with prior polarization manipulations. It allows the observation of a family of important four-photon entangled states. The entanglement-based scheme exploits the rich properties of Dicke states under particle projections or loss in order to obtain inequivalent multi-photon entangled states. The observed states are characterized using the fidelity and entanglement witnesses. An increase in photon rate is crucial to achieve entanglement of higher photon numbers. This holds especially, when photon sources are utilized that emit photons spontaneously. To this end, a new photon source is presented based on a femtosecond ultraviolet enhancement cavity and applied to the observation of the six-photon Dicke state with three excitations. The implemented schemes not only allow the observation of inequivalent types of entanglement, but also the realization of various quantum information tasks. In this work, the four-photon GHZ state has been used in a quantum simulation of a minimal instance of the toric code. This code enables the demonstration of basic properties of anyons, which are quasiparticles distinct from bosons and fermions. Further, the six-photon Dicke state has been applied for quantum metrology: It allows one to estimate a phase shift with a higher precision than by using only classical resources. Altogether, a whole series of experiments for observing inequivalent multi-photon entangled states can now be substituted by a single experimental setup based on the designs developed in this work. In addition to this new approach of photon processing, a novel photon source has been implemented, paving the way to realizations of applications requiring higher photon numbers.

Abstract

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