Research ArticleOPTICS

Shaping quantum photonic states using free electrons

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Science Advances  10 Mar 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 11, eabe4270
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abe4270


It is a long-standing goal to create light with unique quantum properties such as squeezing and entanglement. We propose the generation of quantum light using free-electron interactions, going beyond their already ubiquitous use in generating classical light. This concept is motivated by developments in electron microscopy, which recently demonstrated quantum free-electron interactions with light in photonic cavities. Such electron microscopes provide platforms for shaping quantum states of light through a judicious choice of the input light and electron states. Specifically, we show how electron energy combs implement photon displacement operations, creating displaced-Fock and displaced-squeezed states. We develop the theory for consecutive electron-cavity interactions with a common cavity and show how to generate any target Fock state. Looking forward, exploiting the degrees of freedom of electrons, light, and their interaction may achieve complete control over the quantum state of the generated light, leading to novel light statistics and correlations.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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