Jan 3, 2023

Chip circuit for light could be applied to quantum computations

Posted by in categories: computing, particle physics, quantum physics

The ability to transmit and manipulate, with minimal loss, the smallest unit of light—the photon—plays a pivotal role in optical communications as well as designs for quantum computers that would use light rather than electric charges to store and carry information.

Now, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and their colleagues have connected, on a single microchip, quantum dots—artificial atoms that generate individual photons rapidly and on-demand when illuminated by a laser—with miniature circuits that can guide the light without significant loss of intensity.

To create the ultra-low-loss circuits, the researchers fabricated silicon-nitride waveguides—the channels through which the photons traveled—and buried them in silicon dioxide. The channels were wide but shallow, a geometry that reduced the likelihood that photons would scatter out of the waveguides. Encapsulating the waveguides in silicon dioxide also helped to reduce scattering.

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