Single-photon generation by electron beams

Nano Lett. 2011 Dec 14;11(12):5099-103. doi: 10.1021/nl1034732. Epub 2010 Dec 3.


We propose a drastically new method for generating single photons in a deterministic way by interaction of electron beams with optical waveguides. We find a single swift electron to produce a guided photon with large probability. The change in energy and propagation direction of the electron reveals the creation of a photon, with the photon energy directly read from the energy-loss spectrum or the beam displacement. Our study demonstrates the viability of deterministically creating single guided photons using electron beams with better than picosecond time uncertainty, thus opening a new avenue for making room temperature, heralded frequency-tunable sources affordable for scientific and commercial developments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't