Researchers propose ‘on-chip’ single-photon gun

Single-photon sources and detectors are highly desirable for quantum information systems.

Single-photon sources and detectors are highly desirable for quantum information systems. Building on research that has allowed scientists around the world to explore proof-of-concept single-photon sources using semiconductor quantum dots, researchers at Queen’s University (Kingston, ON, Canada) are now proposing a highly efficient single-photon gun that can facilitate both emission and extraction of single photons on the same miniaturized chip.

The proposed nanometer-scale device comprises a small section of photonic-crystal slab waveguide-containing a single quantum dot-whereby an external light field can trigger the emission of a single photon. Because both efficient emission and extraction of single photons are key requirements for practical applications, however, the device also comes with a fully integrated coupler that enables the photons to be emitted and extracted efficiently “on-chip.” This latest work from the Queen’s researchers is a culmination of a string of ongoing calculations and predictions by the group to address a mix of profound light-matter interactions ranging from the complex world of cavity-quantum electrodynamics to understanding the precise role of manufacturing imperfections. In the hotly growing field of photonic nanostructures, these much needed detailed models will help guide designers to ultimately realize commercially viable, and scalable, single-photon sources. Contact Stephen Hughes at shughes@physics.queensu.ca.

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