Xiao-song Ma

Austrian Academy of Sciences, Wien, Vienna, Austria

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Publications (17)119.24 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The wave-particle duality dates back to Einstein's explanation of the photoelectric effect through quanta of light and de Broglie's hypothesis of matter waves. Quantum mechanics uses an abstract description for the behavior of physical systems such as photons, electrons, or atoms. Whether quantum predictions for single systems in an interferometric experiment allow an intuitive understanding in terms of the particle or wave picture, depends on the specific configuration which is being used. In principle, this leaves open the possibility that quantum systems always either behave definitely as a particle or definitely as a wave in every experimental run by a priori adapting to the specific experimental situation. This is precisely what is tried to be excluded by delayed-choice experiments, in which the observer chooses to reveal the particle or wave character -- or even a continuous transformation between the two -- of a quantum system at a late stage of the experiment. We review the history of delayed-choice gedanken experiments, which can be traced back to the early days of quantum mechanics. Then we discuss their experimental realizations, in particular Wheeler's delayed choice in interferometric setups as well as delayed-choice quantum erasure and entanglement swapping. The latter is particularly interesting, because it elevates the wave-particle duality of a single quantum system to an entanglement-separability duality of multiple systems.
    07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Photonic quantum simulators are promising candidates for providing insight into other small- to medium-sized quantum systems. Recent experiments have shown that photonic quantum systems have the advantage to exploit quantum interference for the quantum simulation of the ground state of Heisenberg spin systems. Here we experimentally characterize this quantum interference at a tuneable beam splitter and further investigate the measurement-induced interactions of a simulated four-spin system by comparing the entanglement dynamics using pairwise concurrence. We also study theoretically a four-site square lattice with next-nearest neighbor interactions and a six-site checkerboard lattice, which might be in reach of current technology.
    Scientific Reports 01/2014; 4:3583. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The counterintuitive features of quantum physics challenge many common-sense assumptions. In an interferometric quantum eraser experiment, one can actively choose whether or not to erase which-path information (a particle feature) of one quantum system and thus observe its wave feature via interference or not by performing a suitable measurement on a distant quantum system entangled with it. In all experiments performed to date, this choice took place either in the past or, in some delayed-choice arrangements, in the future of the interference. Thus, in principle, physical communications between choice and interference were not excluded. Here, we report a quantum eraser experiment in which, by enforcing Einstein locality, no such communication is possible. This is achieved by independent active choices, which are space-like separated from the interference. Our setup employs hybrid path-polarization entangled photon pairs, which are distributed over an optical fiber link of 55 m in one experiment, or over a free-space link of 144 km in another. No naive realistic picture is compatible with our results because whether a quantum could be seen as showing particle- or wave-like behavior would depend on a causally disconnected choice. It is therefore suggestive to abandon such pictures altogether.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 01/2013; · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present a high-fidelity quantum teleportation experiment over a high-loss free-space channel between two laboratories. We teleported six states of three mutually unbiased bases and obtained an average state fidelity of 0.82(1), well beyond the classical limit of 2/3. With the obtained data, we tomographically reconstructed the process matrices of quantum teleportation. The free-space channel attenuation of 31 dB corresponds to the estimated attenuation regime for a down-link from a low-earth-orbit satellite to a ground station. We also discussed various important technical issues for future experiments, including the dark counts of single-photon detectors, coincidence-window width etc. Our experiment tested the limit of performing quantum teleportation with state-of-the-art resources. It is an important step towards future satellite-based quantum teleportation and paves the way for establishing a worldwide quantum communication network.
    Optics Express 10/2012; 20(21):23126-37. · 3.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The quantum internet is predicted to be the next-generation information processing platform, promising secure communication and an exponential speed-up in distributed computation. The distribution of single qubits over large distances via quantum teleportation is a key ingredient for realizing such a global platform. By using quantum teleportation, unknown quantum states can be transferred over arbitrary distances to a party whose location is unknown. Since the first experimental demonstrations of quantum teleportation of independent external qubits, an internal qubit and squeezed states, researchers have progressively extended the communication distance. Usually this occurs without active feed-forward of the classical Bell-state measurement result, which is an essential ingredient in future applications such as communication between quantum computers. The benchmark for a global quantum internet is quantum teleportation of independent qubits over a free-space link whose attenuation corresponds to the path between a satellite and a ground station. Here we report such an experiment, using active feed-forward in real time. The experiment uses two free-space optical links, quantum and classical, over 143 kilometres between the two Canary Islands of La Palma and Tenerife. To achieve this, we combine advanced techniques involving a frequency-uncorrelated polarization-entangled photon pair source, ultra-low-noise single-photon detectors and entanglement-assisted clock synchronization. The average teleported state fidelity is well beyond the classical limit of two-thirds. Furthermore, we confirm the quality of the quantum teleportation procedure without feed-forward by complete quantum process tomography. Our experiment verifies the maturity and applicability of such technologies in real-world scenarios, in particular for future satellite-based quantum teleportation.
    Nature 09/2012; 489(7415):269-73. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Photonic quantum simulators are promising candidates for providing insight into other small- to medium-sized quantum systems. The available photonic quantum technology is reaching the state where significant advantages arise for the quantum simulation of interesting questions in Heisenberg spin systems. Here we experimentally simulate such spin systems with single photons and linear optics. The effective Heisenberg-type interactions among individual single photons are realized by quantum interference at the tunable direction coupler followed by the measurement process. The effective interactions are characterized by comparing the entanglement dynamics using pairwise concurrence of a four-photon quantum system. We further show that photonic quantum simulations of generalized Heisenberg interactions on a four-site square lattice and a six-site checkerboard lattice are in reach of current technology.
    05/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: Quantum teleportation [1] is a quintessential prerequisite of many quantum information processing protocols [2-4]. By using quantum teleportation, one can circumvent the no-cloning theorem [5] and faithfully transfer unknown quantum states to a party whose location is even unknown over arbitrary distances. Ever since the first experimental demonstrations of quantum teleportation of independent qubits [6] and of squeezed states [7], researchers have progressively extended the communication distance in teleportation, usually without active feed-forward of the classical Bell-state measurement result which is an essential ingredient in future applications such as communication between quantum computers. Here we report the first long-distance quantum teleportation experiment with active feed-forward in real time. The experiment employed two optical links, quantum and classical, over 143 km free space between the two Canary Islands of La Palma and Tenerife. To achieve this, the experiment had to employ novel techniques such as a frequency-uncorrelated polarization-entangled photon pair source, ultra-low-noise single-photon detectors, and entanglement-assisted clock synchronization. The average teleported state fidelity was well beyond the classical limit of 2/3. Furthermore, we confirmed the quality of the quantum teleportation procedure (without feed-forward) by complete quantum process tomography. Our experiment confirms the maturity and applicability of the involved technologies in real-world scenarios, and is a milestone towards future satellite-based quantum teleportation.
    05/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: Motivated by the question, which kind of physical interactions and processes are needed for the production of quantum entanglement, Peres has put forward the radical idea of delayed-choice entanglement swapping. There, entanglement can be "produced a posteriori, after the entangled particles have been measured and may no longer exist". In this work we report the first realization of Peres' gedanken experiment. Using four photons, we can actively delay the choice of measurement-implemented via a high-speed tunable bipartite state analyzer and a quantum random number generator-on two of the photons into the time-like future of the registration of the other two photons. This effectively projects the two already registered photons onto one definite of two mutually exclusive quantum states in which either the photons are entangled (quantum correlations) or separable (classical correlations). This can also be viewed as "quantum steering into the past".
    Nature Physics 03/2012; 8(6). · 19.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We realize quantum gates for path qubits with a high-speed, polarization-independent and tunable beam splitter. Two electro-optical modulators act in a Mach-Zehnder interferometer as high-speed phase shifters and rapidly tune its splitting ratio. We test its performance with heralded single photons, observing a polarization-independent interference contrast above 95%. The switching time is about 5.6 ns, and a maximal repetition rate is 2.5 MHz. We demonstrate tunable feed-forward operations of a single-qubit gate of path-encoded qubits and a two-qubit gate via measurement-induced interaction between two photons.
    Optics Express 11/2011; 19(23):22723-30. · 3.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Quantum simulators are controllable quantum systems that can reproduce the dynamics of the system of interest, which are typically unfeasible for classical computers. The recent developments of quantum technology enable the precise control of individual quantum particles as required for studying complex quantum systems. In particular, quantum simulators capable of simulating frustrated Heisenberg spin systems provide a platform for understanding exotic matter such as high-temperature superconductors. Here we report the analog quantum simulation of arbitrary Heisenberg-type interactions among four spin-1/2 particles. This spin-1/2 tetramer is the two-dimensional archetype system whose ground state belongs to the class of valence-bond states. Depending on the interaction strength, frustration within the system emerges such that the ground state evolves from a localized to a resonating valence-bond state. This spin-1/2 tetramer is created using the polarization states of four photons. The precise single-particle addressability and a tunable measurement-induced interaction allows us to obtain fundamental insights into entanglement dynamics among individual particles by observing the frustration of entanglement, governed by quantum monogamy.
    03/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: Bell's theorem shows that local realistic theories place strong restrictions on observable correlations between different systems, giving rise to Bell's inequality which can be violated in experiments using entangled quantum states. Bell's theorem is based on the assumptions of realism, locality, and the freedom to choose between measurement settings. In experimental tests, "loopholes" arise which allow observed violations to still be explained by local realistic theories. Violating Bell's inequality while simultaneously closing all such loopholes is one of the most significant still open challenges in fundamental physics today. In this paper, we present an experiment that violates Bell's inequality while simultaneously closing the locality loophole and addressing the freedom-of-choice loophole, also closing the latter within a reasonable set of assumptions. We also explain that the locality and freedom-of-choice loopholes can be closed only within nondeterminism, i.e., in the context of stochastic local realism.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/2010; 107(46):19708-13. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Quantum simulators are controllable quantum systems that can reproduce the dynamics of the system of interest, which are unfeasible for classical computers. Recent developments in quantum technology enable the precise control of individual quantum particles as required for studying complex quantum systems. Particularly, quantum simulators capable of simulating frustrated Heisenberg spin systems provide platforms for understanding exotic matter such as high-temperature superconductors. Here we report the analog quantum simulation of the ground-state wavefunction to probe arbitrary Heisenberg-type interactions among four spin-1/2 particles . Depending on the interaction strength, frustration within the system emerges such that the ground state evolves from a localized to a resonating valence-bond state. This spin-1/2 tetramer is created using the polarization states of four photons. The single-particle addressability and tunable measurement-induced interactions provide us insights into entanglement dynamics among individual particles. We directly extract ground-state energies and pair-wise quantum correlations to observe the monogamy of entanglement.
    Nature Physics 08/2010; 7(5). · 19.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A significant limitation of practical quantum key distribution (QKD) setups is currently their limited operational range. It has recently been emphasized (X. Ma, C.-H. F. Fung, and H.-K. Lo., Phys. Rev. A, 76:012307, 2007) that entanglement-based QKD systems can tolerate higher channel losses than systems based on weak coherent laser pulses (WCP), in particular when the source is located symmetrically between the two communicating parties, Alice and Bob. In the work presented here, we experimentally study this important advantage by implementing different entanglement-based QKD setups on a 144~km free-space link between the two Canary Islands of La Palma and Tenerife. We established three different configurations where the entangled photon source was placed at Alice's location, asymmetrically between Alice and Bob and symmetrically in the middle between Alice and Bob, respectively. The resulting quantum channel attenuations of 35~dB, 58~dB and 71~dB, respectively, significantly exceed the limit for WCP systems. This confirms that QKD over distances of 300~km and even more is feasible with entangled state sources placed in the middle between Alice and Bob. Comment: 14 pages, 5 figures, 1 table
    New Journal of Physics 07/2010; · 4.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An on-demand single-photon source is a fundamental building block in quantum science and technology. We experimentally demonstrate the proof of concept for a scheme to generate on-demand single photons via actively multiplexing several heralded photons probabilistically produced from pulsed spontaneous parametric down-conversions (SPDCs). By utilizing a four-photon-pair source, an active feed-forward technique, and an ultrafast single-photon router, we show a fourfold enhancement of the output photon rate. Simultaneously, we maintain the quality of the output single-photon states, confirmed by correlation measurements. We also experimentally verify, via Hong-Ou-Mandel interference, that the router does not affect the indistinguishability of the single photons. Furthermore, we give numerical simulations, which indicate that photons based on multiplexing of four SPDC sources can outperform the heralding based on highly advanced photon-number-resolving detectors. Our results show a route for on-demand single-photon generation and the practical realization of scalable linear optical quantum information processing.
    Physical Review A 07/2010; 83(4). · 3.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We demonstrate hybrid entanglement of photon pairs via the experimental violation of a Bell inequality with two different degrees of freedom (DOF), namely the path (linear momentum) of one photon and the polarization of the other photon. Hybrid entangled photon pairs are created by Spontaneous Parametric Down Conversion and coherent polarization to path conversion for one photon. For that photon, path superposition is analyzed, and polarization superposition for its twin photon. The correlations between these two measurements give an S-parameter of S=2.653+/-0.027 in a CHSH inequality and thus violate local realism for two different DOF by more than 24 standard deviations. This experimentally supports the idea that entanglement is a fundamental concept which is indifferent to the specific physical realization of Hilbert space.
    Physical Review A 05/2009; · 3.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We demonstrate for the first time hybrid entanglement of photon pairs generated via the experimental violation of a Bell inequality with two different degrees of freedom (DOF), namely the path/linear momentum of one photon and the polarization of the other photon. Polarization entangled photon pairs are created by spontaneous parametric down conversion. Then, a modified Mach-Zehnder interferometer is used to convert the polarization DOF of one photon to a path DOF. For that photon, path superposition is analyzed and polarization superposition for its twin photon.
    CLEO/Europe and EQEC 2009 Conference Digest; 01/2009
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    ABSTRACT: An on-demand single-photon source is a fundamental building block in quantum science and technology. In a proof-of-principle experiment, we demonstrate on-demand single-photon generation via actively multiplexing several heralded photons probabilistically produced from pulsed spontaneous parametric down conversions (SPDC). By utilizing a 4-photon-pair source, an active feed-forward technique and an ultrafast single photon router, we show a 4-fold enhancement of the output photon rate. Simultaneously, we maintain the indistinguishability, confirmed by Hong-Ou-Mandel interference, and the quality, confirmed by correlation measurements of the output single-photon state. Furthermore, we give numerical simulations which indicate that photons based on multiplexing of four SPDC sources can outperform the heralding based on highly advanced photon-number-resolving detectors. Our results show a route for on-demand single-photon generation and the practical realization of scalable linear optical quantum information processing.