2006 George E. Brown Jr. Award
Alfred U'Ren, research scientist at the Nuclear Sciences Institute of Mexico's National Autonomous University (UNAM), and Yeshaiahu Fainman, professor of electrical and computer engineering at UC San Diego, received the 2006 George E. Brown Jr. Award for their research collaboration in quantum computing. The quantum computing research field examines the nature and behavior of energy and matter at the quantum level for transmitting and processing information. Fainman and U'Ren's collaborative research grant project, "Nonlinear nanophotonic components for optimized entangled photon pair generation," concentrates on the development of key enabling technologies for practical implementations of quantum information-processing systems.
In this highly specialized field, Fainman and U'Ren are working with a well-established source of non-classical light, which is produced when a pair of photons passes through a crystal via a process called parametric downconversion. The experimental conditions under which un-entangled photon pair generation is possible are apparently quite restrictive. As a result, Fainman and U'Ren have explored the possibility of realizing the downconversion process in a nonlinear photonic crystal, where the dispersion characteristics can be engineered, permitting the generation of un-entangled photon pairs for arbitrary materials at arbitrary wavelengths. A 2007 publication in Physical Review A 76(4) by Marķa Corona and U'ren discusses this process.
At present, Fainman and U'Ren are exploring the possibility of a practical tailored photon pair source, based on their previous theoretical work. They expect that this work may bring them closer to the key milestone of reliable generation of pure single photons, a crucial enabling step for practical quantum information processing. Additional information on the researchers and their work is available at Dr. U’Ren’s and Dr. Fainman’s respective websites.