A technique for making practical quantum devices, without the need for many bulky optical elements, is demonstrated in Nature Communications this week. The findings may enable the development of versatile, stable quantum technologies.The key to many quantum experiments is the creation and control of entangled photon pairs. Ping Xu and colleagues engineered nano-scale crystals that combined multiple optical functions into one small element, removing the need for additional lenses or mirrors. These devices act as an entangled photon source and guide, steering and focusing the light to specific locations. The team found that the range of manipulations could be controlled by tailoring the design of the crystals.The on-chip nature of these devices makes them an attractive step towards real-world quantum applications. More work is required to extend their variety of functions but the authors hope they will be of interest in a variety of optical research and technology fields.
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