In quantum optics, the main challenge in exploiting quantum photon sources is the development of easy-to-handle and reliable components that also exhibit low loss, low noise and the desired quantum properties. Integrated Quantum Optics (IQO) group in Paderborn has developed a `plug & play' source of telecom-wavelength heralded single photons that incorporates both desirable quantum properties suitable for long distance applications and an alignment-free packaging that allows for the use of this device outside the lab. This is the first quantum source requiring no user intervention that produces photons with high heralding efficiency. The source consists of a nonlinear waveguide on lithium niobate enabling parametric down conversion from infrared pump light to single photons in the telecom wavelengths, and fibre pigtailing of both input and output, such that it can be just plugged to a pump laser and a fibre based quantum network without the need of any alignment.
This work has been highlighted by APS Physics News.