the precision of time measurement.5 Single-photon detectors have been developed, but at this time they are only available with a dead time after detection, not allowing single-photon sensitivity for detecting all incoming photons. Extreme nonlinear optics has made significant progress, providing the potential for soft x-ray sources and imaging. Entangled photons and squeezed states are new areas for R&D in the optics and photonics field, allowing sensing options never previously considered.
Key Recommendation: The United States should develop the technology for generating light beams whose photonic structure has been prearranged to yield better performance in applications than is possible with ordinary laser light.
Prearranged photonic structures in this context include generation of light with specified quantum states in a given spatiotemporal region, such as squeezed states with greater than 20-dB measured squeezing in one field quadrature, Fock states of more than 10 photons, and states of one and only one photon or two and only two entangled photons with greater than 99 percent probability. These capabilities should be developed with the capacity to detect light with over 99 percent efficiency and with photon-number resolution in various bands of the optical spectrum. The developed devices should operate at room temperature and be compatible with speeds prevalent in state-of-the-art sensing, imaging, and metrology systems. U.S. funding agencies should give high priority to funding research and development—at universities and in national laboratories where such research is carried out—in this fundamental field to position the U.S. science and technology base at the forefront of applications development in sensing, imaging, and metrology. It is believed that this field, if successfully developed, can transfer significant technology to products for decades to come.
Key Recommendation: Small U.S. companies should be encouraged and supported by the government to address market opportunities for applying research advances to niche markets while exploiting high-volume consumer components. These markets can lead to significant expansion of U.S.-based jobs while capitalizing on U.S.-based research.
Chapter 9: Strategic Materials for Optics
Chapter 9 deals with strategic materials for optics. The main developments in materials for optics and photonics are the emergence of metamaterials and the
5 For example, the 2005 Nobel Prize in physics. More information can be found at http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/2005/. Accessed August 2, 2012.