Probing and manipulating the quantum nature of light
Dr. Marco Bellini
Istituto Nazionale di Ottica, INO-CNR, Firenze, Italy
Light is a very convenient tool for probing and directly see the inner working of some of the most fundamental concepts of quantum mechanics (like the creation and annihilation operators, the commutation relations, etc.) in a laboratory. Besides allowing one to carry out fundamental tests of physics, gaining access to the quantum properties of light may become an important resource for novel technologies (like information processing and communication, metrology, etc.) that exploit quantum properties to surpass current classical limits.
In this seminar I will illustrate some recent activities devoted to the investigation and control of quantum light. The experimental implementation of some of the most basic quantum operations, like single-photon creation [1,2] and annihilation , has allowed our group to generate and manipulate light at the most accurate levels. This, together with advanced techniques for the complete characterization of the generated light states, has led us to probe fundamental rules of quantum physics (like the commutation relations [4-6]), and develop new tools (like noiseless linear amplification ) for future quantum technologies.
For any of these applications and for novel architectures in quantum information processing, the accurate determination and analysis of the spatiotemporal mode occupied by the quantum light states is mandatory. I will address this issue by showing some recent results on the full experimental measurement and control of the spectral/temporal shape of ultrashort single photons .
 A. Zavatta, S. Viciani, and M. Bellini, Science 306, 660 (2004)
 A. Zavatta, V. Parigi, and M. Bellini, Phys. Rev. A 75, 052106 (2007)
 A. Zavatta, V. Parigi, M. S. Kim, and M. Bellini, New J. Phys., 10, 123006 (2008)
 V. Parigi, A. Zavatta, M.S. Kim, and M. Bellini, Science, 317, 1890-1893 (2007)
 M. S. Kim, H. Jeong, A. Zavatta, V. Parigi, and M. Bellini, Phys. Rev. Lett., 101, 260401 (2008)
 A. Zavatta, V. Parigi, M.S. Kim, H. Jeong, and M. Bellini, Phys. Rev. Lett., 103, 140406 (2009)
 A. Zavatta, J. Fiurasek, and M. Bellini, Nature Photonics, 5, 52-56 (2011)
 For more info see the group homepage: http://www.ino.it/home/QOG