PPKTP Crystal Selection Guide

Author: Yoad Michael

PPKTP Crystal  is a quasi-phased-matched crystal that converts light of one wavelength into a different wavelength. The original purpose of this crystal was humble: It was designed to be an efficient frequency converter for laser system by second harmonic generation. However, with recent advances in quantum optics, the process of spontaneous parametric down conversion (SPDC) is now the dominating application of PPKTP.

SPDC is a process in which a strong pump beam is converted into correlated photon pairs, coined Signal and Idler. These correlations are the basis for various sources of quantum light, such as heralded single photons, time-energy or polarization entangled photon pairs, and squeezed light.

While it is convenient to consider only the quantum properties these light sources, the nonlinear properties of the interaction play a very significant role. For example, in PPKTP, the phase matching can be fully controlled such that: the signal and idler have the same polarization (type-0) or orthogonal polarization (type-2), same wavelength (degenerate) or separate wavelengths (nondegenerate), emitted along the direction of the pump beam (collinear) or at some angle (noncollinear). The type-0/type-2 is determined by the polling period and is something that needs to be determined at the manufacture stage, while degeneracy and collinearity can be fine-tuned by temperature (to avoid working at bizarre temperatures, it is advised to specify these parameters beforehand and adjust the polling period).

We can dive deeper into these differences. Polarization is not the only optical property that changes between type-0 and type-2 interactions; Spectral bandwidth, pair rate, and tolerance to temperature are also different. This is best illustrated by the wonderful work of the Ursin group [1], in which they compared type-0 and type-2 crystals as sources of polarization entangled photon pairs. As shown in Figure. 1, Type-0 is significantly broader than Type-2 and can be made nondegenerate by temperature tuning. In addition, the authors reported that the pair generation (per nm) of type-0 is about 10 times higher than that of type-2.

PPKTP Crystal
Figure 1: Comparing the spectral bandwidth and degeneracy of Type-0 and Type-2 ppKTP crystals. Taken from Ref. [1] with permission from the authors.

To make things a little more complicated, the dispersion and the length of the KTP Crystal also affects the spectral bandwidth and pair rate. Longer crystals generate more pairs at the cost of reduced spectral bandwidth, and signal/idler photons are much broader at telecom wavelengths (~1550) than they are at NIR (~810).

All these examples show that PPKTP is an extremely versatile component, and it is therefore important to first consider the needs of each application before choosing the right crystal. Below we present a few recent utilizations of PPKTP for various applications and provide our recommended crystal. We are proud to say that all this knowledge came from the brilliant researchers that use our PPKTP Crystals and shared their findings with the scientific community. Feel free to contact us if you think we are missing a key application or research work.

Boson Sampling and quantum interference

In Boson Sampling, quantum light is usually placed at the input of a large interferometer that includes multiple splitting and re-combining of beams. Boson Sampling relies on quantum interference (Hong-Ou-Mandel effect) and therefore benefits from high spectral purity. Special efforts were made by the Fedrizzi group for creating aperiodically polled crystals for high spectral purity at 1550nm [2], and a similar design was implemented by USTC’s photonic quantum supremacy experiment [3]. Recent quantum computing efforts by Xanadu [4] and QuiX [5] utilized PPKTP at the same wavelength region, due to both higher purity at these wavelengths and compatibility with peripheral platforms such as Silicon Nitride. Raicol has developed (through a collaboration with Prof. Ady Arie) a method for the design and manufacture of high spectral purity APKTP Crystals for Boson sampling and quantum interference close to the group velocity matching point of 1550nm.

Recommended Crystal: Type-2 APKTP or PPKTP at 775->1550. APKTP offers higher spectral purity while PPKTP offers higher pair rate.

Quantum Key Distribution

PPKTP plays a role in entanglement-based QKD as a source of polarization-entangled photon pairs. In this field there are many available options depending on whether the system is designed for free-space or fiber. In general, detector efficiency and the availability of 405nm lasers usually pushes these applications towards entanglement at 810nm [6, 7]. Type-2 crystals are easier to use because of their narrow linewidth, easy separation of the signal and idler with a polarizing beam splitter, and robustness to temperature, while type-0 crystals are broader and offer higher pair rate, making them good candidates for multiplexed QKD [8].

Recommended Crystal: Type-0 or Type-2 PPKTP at 405->810. Type-0 offers higher pair rate and spectral bandwidth, while Type-2 offers ease of usability.

Squeezed Light

Squeezed light usually utilizes the crystals in the strong pumping regime (unlike heralded single photons or polarization entanglement), and benefits from a strong nonlinear response, therefore making type-0 crystals the favorable option. Examples include the Furusawa group with 9dB of squeezing at 860nm [9], The Schnabel group has demonstrated 15dB and 13dB of squeezing at both 1064 and 1550nm [10, 11], and the Bowen group using the former for a demonstration of squeezing-enhanced microscopy [12]. Squeezed light can be generated anywhere from 780nm (390nm pump) to 3.8 microns and is a function of the exact specific application.

When choosing a crystal for squeezed light applications, the researcher should first decide if the squeezing is going to be generated in single-pass or in a cavity. For the former, a standard crystal suffices, while for an optimal parametric oscillator, monolithic or hemi-monolithic options are preferred [13].

Recommended Crystal: Type-0 ppKTP, optional hemi or fully monolithic.

Imaging With Undetected Photons

Imaging with undetected photons usually utilizes type-0 crystals with varying degeneracy. For fundamental research it is convenient to be able to detect both photons [14], while the Ramelow group generated a signal in the visible and idler at the mid-IR for microscopy applications [15].

Recommended Crystal: Type-0 PPKTP, with a period that is designed for nondegeneracy. No better example than Ramelow’s 660->800+3800.

We will try to update this list periodically, so visit this page every now and then!



[1] Steinlechner et al. “Efficient heralding of polarization-entangled photons from type-0 and type-II spontaneous parametric downconversion in periodically poled KTiOPO4”, JOSA B 31, 9, 2068-2076 (2014).

[2] Graffitti et al. “Independent high-purity photons created in domain-engineered crystals”, Optica 5, 5, 514-517 (2018).

[3] Zhong et al. “Quantum computational advantage using photons”, Science 370, 6523, 1460-1463 (2020).

[4] Madsen et al. “Quantum computational advantage with a programmable photonic processor”, Nature 606, 75–81 (2022).

[5] Taballione et al. “20-Mode Universal Quantum Photonic Processor”, arXiv:2203.01801.

[6] Yin et al. “Entanglement-based secure quantum cryptography over 1,120 kilometres”, Nature 582, 501–505 (2020).

[7] Mishra et al. “BBM92 quantum key distribution over a free space dusty channel of 200 meters”, Journal of Optics, 24, 7 (2022).

[8] Brambila et al. “Ultrabright Polarization-Entangled Photon Pair Source for Frequency-Multiplexed Quantum Communication in Free-Space”, arXiv:2205.10214.

[9] Takeno et al. “Observation of -9 dB quadrature squeezing with improvement of phase stability in homodyne measurement”, Optics Express 15, 7, 4321-4327 (2007).

[10] Vahlbruch et al. “Detection of 15 dB Squeezed States of Light and their Application for the Absolute Calibration of Photoelectric Quantum Efficiency”, Physical Review Letters 117, 110801 (2016).

[11] Schönbeck et al. “13 dB squeezed vacuum states at 1550 nm from 12 mW external pump power at 775 nm”, Optics Letters 43, 1, 110-113 (2018).

[12] Casacio et al. “Quantum-enhanced nonlinear microscopy”, Nature 594, 201–206 (2021).

[13] Ast et al. “High-bandwidth squeezed light at 1550 nm from a compact monolithic PPKTP cavity”, Optics Express 21, 11, 13572-13579 (2013).

[14] Gilaberte Basset et al. “Video-Rate Imaging with Undetected Photons”, Laser & Photonics Reviews 15, 6 (2021).

[15] Kviatkovsky et al. “Microscopy with undetected photons in the mid-infrared”, Science Advances 6, 42 (2020).

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