The Helmholtz equation for the spatial evolution of the electric field amplitude of a light beam propagating along an optical waveguide resembles the temporal dynamics of a trapped quantum particle governed by the Schrödinger equation. Even more, the dynamics of the TE modes propagating along two coupled waveguides can be mapped into the dynamics of a single quantum particle in a double-well potential, with the evanescent field of the waveguides’ system playing the role of quantum tunneling. In this context, we investigate the possibility to apply quantum engineering protocols, e.g., spatial adiabatic passage and SUSY quantum techniques, to systems of coupled optical waveguides with the ultimate goal of designing new optical devices with improved performances with respect to standard ones as well as for using these new devices as photonic quantum simulators.

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