Abstract

Photonic routing is a key building block of many optical applications challenging its development. We report a $2\times 2$ photonic coupler with a splitting ratio switchable by a low-voltage electronic signal with 10 GHz bandwidth and tens of nanoseconds latency. The coupler can operate at any splitting ratio ranging from 0:100 to 100:0 with the extinction ratio of 26 dB in optical bandwidth of 1.3 THz. We show sub-nanosecond switching between arbitrary coupling regimes including a balanced 50:50 beam splitter, 0:100 switch, and a photonic tap. The core of the device is based on a Mach–Zehnder interferometer in a dual-wavelength configuration allowing real-time phase lock with long-term sub-degree stability at single-photon level. Using the reported coupler, we demonstrate for the first time, to the best of our knowledge, a perfectly balanced time-multiplexed device for photon-number-resolving detectors and also the active preparation of a photonic temporal qudit state up to four time bins. Verified long-term stable operation of the coupler at the single-photon level makes it suitable for a wide application range in quantum information processing and quantum optics in general.

© 2019 Optical Society of America

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