A non-unitary metasurface enables continuous control of quantum photon–photon interactions from bosonic to fermionic

Quanwei Li, Wei Bao, Zhaoyu Nie, Yang Xia, Yahui Xue, Yuan Wang, Sui Yang, Xiang Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Photonic quantum information processing, one of the leading platforms for quantum technologies1–5, critically relies on optical quantum interference to produce an indispensable effective photon–photon interaction. However, such an effective interaction is fundamentally limited to bunching6 due to the bosonic nature of photons7 and the restricted phase response from conventional unitary optical elements8,9. Here we propose and experimentally demonstrate a new degree of freedom in the optical quantum interference enabled by a non-unitary metasurface. Due to the unique anisotropic phase response that creates two extreme eigen-operations, we show dynamical and continuous control over the effective interaction of two single photons such that they show bosonic bunching, fermionic antibunching or arbitrarily intermediate behaviour, beyond their intrinsic bosonic nature. This quantum operation opens the door to both fundamental quantum light–matter interaction and innovative photonic quantum devices for quantum communication, quantum simulation and quantum computing.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNature Photonics
StatePublished - Feb 11 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-02-15
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): OSR-2016-CRG5-2950-03
Acknowledgements: We thank B. Whaley and H. Haffner for reading of the manuscript and valuable comments. Q.L. also thanks Coherent for loaning the Genesis CX355-250 laser used in the experiments. This work is supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) (award OSR-2016-CRG5-2950-03). We acknowledge the facility support at the Biomolecular Nanotechnology Center/QB3 at UC Berkeley. We also acknowledge the facility support at the Molecular Foundry. Work at the Molecular Foundry was supported by the Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, of the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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