Distribution of Time-Energy Entanglement over
100 km fiber using superconducting single-
Qiang Zhang1, Hiroki Takesue2, Sae Woo Nam3, Carsten Langrock1, Xiuping Xie1, M. M.
Fejer1, Yoshihisa Yamamoto1,4
1 Edward L. Ginzton Laboratory, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305
2 NTT Basic Research Laboratories, NTT Corporation, 3-1 Morinosato Wakamiya, Atsugi, Kanagawa 243-0198,
3 National Institute of Standards and Technology, 325 Broadway, Boulder, Colorado 80305
4National Institute of Informatics, 2-1-2 Hitotsubashi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 101-843, Japan
Abstract: In this letter, we report an experimental realization of distributing
entangled photon pairs over 100 km of dispersion-shifted fiber. In the
experiment, we used a periodically poled lithium niobate waveguide to
generate the time-energy entanglement and superconducting single-photon
detectors to detect the photon pairs after 100 km. We also demonstrate that
the distributed photon pairs can still be useful for quantum key distribution
and other quantum communication tasks.
© 2007 Optical Society of America
OCIS codes: (190.4410) Nonlinear optics, parametric processes; (230.7380) Waveguides,
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Entanglement distribution is one of the core components in the field of long-distance quantum
communication (LDQC), for example, quantum key distribution (QKD) [1,2] and quantum
teleportation [3,4]. So far there are many experimental implementations of entanglement
distribution over free-space links [5,6], or optical fibers [7-11].
Very recently, 100-km entanglement distribution over optical fiber has been reported by
several groups [9-11]. One of the main problems in long-distance entanglement distribution is
the dark count rate of the detectors. Here, we utilized a reverse-proton-exchange (RPE)
periodically poled lithium niobate (PPLN) waveguide and superconducting single-photon
detectors (SSPD) to improve the distribution distance to 100 km over dispersion-shifted fiber
(DSF). RPE PPLN waveguides  were used due to their high nonlinear efficiencies and low
propagation loss (<0.1 dB/cm), while the SSPDs [13,14] had very low dark count rates (<200
Hz) and a fast timing response (~65 ps full width at half maximum), which resulted in a low
dark count probability per time window. We demonstrated that the entanglement after 100 km
still showed quantum nonlocality and violated Bell’s inequality by observing the two-photon-
2. Time-Energy Entanglement
Time-energy-entangled photon pairs at telecom wavelengths are thought to be good
candidates for LDQC over fiber-based networks [7-9] due to the low propagation loss in
standard optical fiber and insensitivity to polarization-mode dispersion compared with
polarization-entangled photon pairs. Time-energy entanglement was first proposed by J. D.
Franson in 1989 . In his original paper, an atom cascade process is utilized to generate the
entanglement. However, current experimental realizations of the protocol are mainly based on
parametric down conversion (PDC) .
As shown in Fig. 1, a continuous-wave laser with an ultra-long coherence time
nonlinearity, generating correlated photon pairs via the PDC
process. The down-converted photon pairs usually have a much broader spectrum than the
pump photons and hence a significantly shorter coherence time
bandwidth limit. Since the two photons of a photon pair are always generated simultaneously
and the down conversion process obeys energy conservation, both the total energy and the
time difference of the two photons are well defined as the pump photon’s energy and zero,
respectively. However, we do not know the exact time and energy of each photon. This kind
of entangled state is called time-energy entanglement, and can be mathematically expressed
1 τ pumps a
crystal possessing a
2 τ according to the time-
tataeee dt dtC
, where C is a
normalization constant, wp is the pumping frequency and ai
in mode i at time ti . It has been widely used for testing of quantum nonlocality and
quantum key distribution.
+(ti) is the photon creation operator
Fig. 1. Scheme of generation and detection of time-energy entanglement. The small dotted pulses represent the
possible photon pairs, which can be generated during the long time span of the pump light, while the dotted red
envelope of the photon pairs is from the long pump.
To characterize and utilize the entanglement, one usually launches the entangled photon pairs
into two unbalanced Mach-Zehnder interferometers (MZI) and then implements a coincidence
measurement by detecting the outputs of the two MZIs with single-photon detectors. Suppose
the timing jitter of the single-photon detector is
τ . When a photon with quantum state t passes through the MZI at time n, it
will split, propagate in the short and long arms and come out with the quantum state
, such that there will be no single-photon coherence fringe in the MZI’s
3 τ and the time unbalance between the MZI’s
two paths is
, where θ is the phase between the two different arms. Suppose
output. When a photon pair is detected in the two MZI’s outputs at time
have been generated at time t , propagated in the MZI’s long arm or could have been
generated at a later time
, propagated in the short arm. Since the photon pairs generated
1 τ were all in phase and
possibilities were interfered and
phase in signal and idler’s channel and the angular frequency of the pump light.
, it could either
during the pump light coherence time
, the two
iθ , ω denote the MZI’s
3. Experimental Setup
A tunable external cavity diode laser with 100 kHz linewidth was used to generate the pump
light. The central wavelength of the laser was 1559 nm and the full width at half maximum
(FWHM) of the coherence time was 4 μs. The output of the laser was amplified by two
erbium-doped fiber amplifiers (EDFA) and then launched into a RPE PPLN waveguide to
generate frequency-doubled pump light for the PDC process via second harmonic generation
(SHG) as shown in Fig. 2. One 3.0-nm-wide tunable bandpass filters was inserted after each
EDFA, respectively, to filter out the EDFA’s spontaneous emission noise. Since these
waveguide devices only accept TM-polarized light, an in-line fiber polarization controller was
used to adjust the polarization of the input. The residual pump was attenuated by 180 dB using
dichroic mirrors and pump filters. The second-harmonic (SH) wave was then launched into a
second RPE PPLN waveguide to serve as the pump pulse for the PDC process. Waveguide-
based PDC sources exhibit higher conversion efficiencies than bulk crystals and can be
integrated with fiber-optic-based components.
Since RPE PPLN waveguides fabricated in z-cut substrates only support TM-polarized waves,
separation of the near degenerate signal and idler waves via polarization de-multiplexing is
not possible. To solve this problem, we took advantage of higher order mode interactions in
combination with integrated mode multiplexers / demultiplexers via asymmetric Y-junctions
Fig. 2. Diagram of the experimental setup. TBPF: tunable band-pass filter. PPLN1: a RPE PPLN waveguide for
second harmonic generation of the pump source. PPLN2: a fiber pigtailed asymmetric Y-junction RPE PPLN
waveguide for parametric down-conversion. LPF: long-pass filter to remove the 780 nm pump light and other
parasitics. BPF: 0.8-nm-wide bandpass filter. SSPD: superconducting single-photon detector. TIA: time interval
analyzer. Solid lines represent optical fibers and dotted lines represent free-space propagation.
The generated entangled photon pairs and residual pump light were collected at the output of
the RPE PPLN waveguide via a fiber pigtail. The spectral bandwidth of the entangled photon
pairs was around 40 nm . A long-pass filter was inserted into each output fiber of the
second RPE PPLN chip to eliminate the residual pump light as well as other fluorescence.
Two 0.8-nm-wide bandpass filters were used to reduce the bandwidth of the photon pairs,
limiting the dispersion in the DSF. The band-pass filter also defined the photon pairs’ time
duration to be 4 ps FWHM. The photon pairs were then input into two spools of 50-km-long
DSF, respectively. The center wavelength of the photon pairs was 1559 nm and the dispersion
after 50 km broadened the photon pairs’ pulse duration to 25 ps , which was smaller than
the timing jitter of the SSPD.
The entangled photon pairs were analyzed by two 10-GHz unbalanced planar lightwave
circuit (PLC) MZIs. The phase between the two arms of the MZIs could be controlled by
adjusting the temperature of the interferometer using a Peltier element . The time
difference between the two arms was 100 ps, i. e.
. Therefore, one observes the two-photon-coincidence condition and not the
single photon interference. Compared with previous entanglement distribution experiments,
our MZIs had a significantly higher bandwidth, i.e. much smaller
the entanglement flux.
However, a larger bandwidth needs a faster single-photon detector, i.e.
the previous LDQC experiments, the detector’s performance limited the distribution distance.
, meeting the condition
τ , which could improve
. In most of
In our experiment, we used two SSPDs to detect the entangled photon pairs. The SSPDs used
in this experiment consisted of a 100-nm-wide, 4-nm-thick NbN superconducting wire, which
was coupled to a 9-μm core single-mode fiber . The packaged detectors were housed in a
closed-cycle cryogen-free refrigerator with an operating temperature of 3 K. The quantum
efficiency and dark count rate of the SSPDs depended on an adjustable bias current. In the
experiment, we set the bias current to reach a quantum efficiency of 0.7% and 2.1% for the
signal and idler channel, respectively, and a dark count rate of around 100 Hz. These SSPDs
had an inherently small Gaussian timing jitter of 65 ps (FWHM). In the experiment, we set
our coincidence time window to 100 ps. Therefore, the dark count propability per time
10−, which reduced the accidental coincidence rate caused by dark counts
compared to previous experiments [7-9].
The detected signals were sent to a time interval analyzer (TIA) whose timing response was
also faster than
event were used as the start and the idler channel as the stop signal.
4 τ to measure the time coincidence histogram. The signal-photon’s detection
4. Experimental Results
In the experiment, we input 316 mW of pump at a wavelength of 1559 nm into the first PPLN
waveguide from the EDFA and coupled 560 μW of the generated SH into the second PPLN
We set the time window to 60 ps (
Under this condition, we achieved 0.05 average photon pairs per time window. The total
channel loss before the 100-km-long fiber was 20 dB, with 10 dB due to the PPLN’s
propagation, reflection, scattering and fiber pigtailing loss, and 10 dB loss from the filters and
fiber U-benches. Each of the two PLC MZIs had a 5 dB insertion loss. The DSF’s loss was 0.2
dB/km. Including all the channel loss terms, we obtained entangled photon pairs at a 2 Hz
To qualify the entanglement after 100 km of fiber, we first set the PLC interferometer in the
signal channel to 22.5°C and varied the temperature of the interferometer in the idler channel
to obtain a coincidence interference-fringe pattern. To demonstrate entanglement, one
interference pattern is not enough; at least one other pattern in a non-orthogonal basis is
necessary. To observe this pattern, we set the signal interferometer to 24.5°C and observed the
interference fringes shown in Fig. 4(a). The two curves with an average visibility of
)%7 5 .80(
, which is well beyond the visibility of 71% necessary for violation of the Bell
inequality , demonstrate the achieved entanglement. The large uncertainty of the visibility
resulted from system instabilities, for example, temperature fluctuations of the two PPLN
chips, the polarization and timing fluctuations caused by the temperature change of the 100-
km long fiber, etc. To eliminate the timing fluctuations, we increased the coincidence time
window from 60 ps to 100 ps, even though this increased the accidental coincidence noise.
Besides the timing fluctuations, the imperfection of the PLC MZIs, the dark counts of the
SSPD and multi-photon-pair emissions will also introduce error to the visibility. In the
experiment, it took several hours to take each curve in Fig. 4(a) due to the low flux of
entangled photon pairs. The long measurement time accentuated polarization and timing
fluctuations between the two measurements, and is also the reason for the different heights of
the two curves in the figure.
3 τ ), which was equal to the timing jitter of the SSPD.
To qualify the influence from the fiber, we also implemented a back-to-back visibility
measurement without DSF as shown in Figure 3(b). Here, the average visibility was
)%05 . 058. 83(
. The imperfection of this visibility is due to accidental coincidence from
the multi-photon-pair emission.
Figure 4. Two-photon interference pattern with 100-km-long fiber (a) and without fiber (b). T1 is the temperature of
the PLC MZI in the signal channel while T2 is the temperature in the idler channel. The Y-axis represents the
coincidence rate per signal photon with an average of 0.5 million signal photons.
We experimentally generated and distributed time-energy entanglement at telecom
wavelengths with a RPE PPLN waveguide over a 100-km-long fiber with the help of SSPDs.
The visibility of the achieved entanglement was
when the entanglement flux was 2 Hz after 100 km.
)%7 5 . 80(
without subtracting any noise
This research was supported by NICT, the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research through
contracts F49620-02-1-0240, the MURI center for photonic quantum information systems (ARO/ARDA
program DAAD19-03-1-0199), the Disruptive Technology Office (DTO), SORST, and CREST
programs, Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) and the NIST quantum information science
initiative. We acknowledge the support of Crystal Technology, Inc.