Discrete single-photon quantum walks with tunable decoherence

Phys Rev Lett. 2010 Apr 16;104(15):153602. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.104.153602. Epub 2010 Apr 16.


Quantum walks have a host of applications, ranging from quantum computing to the simulation of biological systems. We present an intrinsically stable, deterministic implementation of discrete quantum walks with single photons in space. The number of optical elements required scales linearly with the number of steps. We measure walks with up to 6 steps and explore the quantum-to-classical transition by introducing tunable decoherence. Finally, we also investigate the effect of absorbing boundaries and show that decoherence significantly affects the probability of absorption.