provide a direct link between RF and optical standards within a small table-top apparatus that is now commercially available. At the time of the 1998 study, linking between RF and optical standards took instrumentation that filled several rooms and was performed at only a few locations around the world.
Finding: Several countries around the world have made significant advancements in photonics research capabilities in the measurement area, and the research leadership gap between these countries and the United States has significantly narrowed in many disciplines.
Finding: Progress in nanophotonics, plasmonics, metamaterials, and other related fields of science and technology is opening a broad range of possibilities for the enhanced sensitivity, greater specificity, lower size, and lower cost of sensors. These possibilities will have significant impacts in various fields, including biochemical sensing.
Entangled photons and squeezed states are new subjects of research and development in the optics and photonics field and allow 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.