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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Why did we elaborate an entangled photons experiment in our engineering school?
Author(s): Lionel Jacubowiez; Thierry Avignon

Paper Abstract

We will describe a simple setup experiment that allows students to create polarization-entangled photons pairs. These photon pairs are in an entangled state first described in the famous 1935 article in Phys.Rev by Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen, often called E.P.R. state. Photons pairs at 810 nm are produced in two nonlinear crystals by spontaneous parametric downconversion of photons at 405 nm emitted by a violet laser diode. The polarization state of the photons pairs is easily tunable with a half-wave plate and a Babinet compensator on the laser diode beam. After having adjusted the polarization-entangled state of the photon pairs, our students can perform a test of Bell’s inequalities. They will find the amazing value for the Bell parameter between 2.3 and 2.6, depending on the quality of the adjustments of the state of polarization. The experiments described can be done in 4 or 5 hours.

What is the importance of creating an entangled photons experiment for our engineering students?

First of all, entanglement concept is clearly one of the most strikingly nonclassical features of quantum theory and it is playing an increasing role in present-day physics. But in this paper, we will emphasise the experimental point of view. We will try to explain why we believe that for our students this lab experiment is a unique opportunity to deal with established concepts and experimental techniques on polarization, non linear effects, phase matching, photon counting avalanche photodiodes, counting statistics, coincidences detectors.

Let us recall that the first convincing experimental violations of Bell’s inequalities were performed by Alain Aspect and Philippe Grangier with pairs of entangled photons at the Institut d’Optique between 1976 and 1982. Twenty five years later, due to recent advances in laser diode technology, new techniques for generation of photon pairs and avalanche photodiodes, this experiment is now part of the experimental lab courses for our students.

Paper Details

Date Published: 24 October 2005
PDF: 5 pages
Proc. SPIE 9664, Ninth International Topical Meeting on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics, 966411 (24 October 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.2207539
Show Author Affiliations
Lionel Jacubowiez, Ecole Supérieure d'Optique (France)
Thierry Avignon, Ecole Supérieure d'Optique (France)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9664:
Ninth International Topical Meeting on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics
François Flory, Editor(s)

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