The new device is made with a thin organic polymer layer as active material that is sandwiched between two highly reflective mirrors. In the strong-light matter interaction regime, exciton-polariton condensates can be produced by shining in a “pump” laser beam under an angle, producing an “output” beam of light. Harnessing various optimizations, the team could show that these condensates can be “seeded” and stimulated by as little as a single photon, effectively realizing an optical single-photon nonlinearity even a room temperature. The switching energy on the attojoule scale combined with picosecond switching time is an important step forward towards ultrafast, efficient all-optical logic circuits.
Find more about our original Nature article here.