Heralded generation of entangled photon pairs
Entangled photons are a crucial resource for quantum communication and linear optical quantum computation. Unfortunately, the applicability of many photon-based schemes is limited due to the stochastic character of the photon sources. Therefore, a worldwide effort has focused on overcoming the limitation of probabilistic emission by generating two-photon entangled states conditioned on the detection of auxiliary photons. Here we present the first heralded generation of photon states that are maximally entangled in polarization with linear optics and standard photon detection from spontaneous parametric downconversion1. We use the downconversion state corresponding to the generation of three photon pairs, where the coincident detection of four auxiliary photons unambiguously heralds the successful preparation of the entangled state2. This controlled generation of entangled photon states is a significant step towards the applicability of a linear optics quantum network, in particular for entanglement swapping, quantum teleportation, quantum cryptography and scalable approaches towards photonics-based quantum computing3.