Photonic random walks with traps

Longhi, Stefano
Optics Letters 49, 2809-2812 (2024)

Random walks (RW) behave very differently for classical and quantum particles. Here we unveil a ubiquitous distinctive behavior of random walks of a photon in a one-dimensional lattice in the presence of a finite number of traps, at which the photon can be destroyed and the walk terminates. While for a classical random walk, the photon is unavoidably destroyed by the traps. For a quantum walk, the photon can remain alive, and the walk continues forever. Such an intriguing behavior is illustrated by considering photonic random walks in synthetic mesh lattices with controllable decoherence, which enables the switch from quantum to classical random walks.

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