Photon quantum statistics imprinted on free electrons – published in Science
In the interaction between free electrons and light, light has long been described by Maxwell’s classical field equations. In collaboration with and under the leadership of Professor Ido Kaminer and with colleagues of the Israel Institute of Technology, the Technion, and Tel Aviv University we were able to observe the quantum statistics of non-classical light in the electron-photon interaction. For the first time here, the electron can only be described in an entangled state with the photon.
The experiment is based on a silicon photonic nanostructure, specially designed towards high-efficiency electron-light coupling using inverse design. By tuning the photon statistics of the laser light from Poissonian (coherent) to super-Poissonian (thermal), we demonstrate electron dynamics going from a quantum walk to a classical random walk. This lies at the heart of quantum mechanics. Our contrinbution was the design and fabrication of the high-efficiency electron-light coupling structure, while the measurements have been done in the Kaminer lab at the Technion.