On-Demand Single Photon Array

Schematic of single photon emitter array using anatomically thin materials placed on nanopillars. (Source: R. Bushati)

Physicists at The City College of New York have used atomically thin two-dimen­sional materials to realize an array of quantum emitters operating at room tempera­ture that can be integrated into next generation quantum communi­cation systems. Researchers from the groups of City College Pro­fessors Carlos Meriles and Vinod Menon deve­loped for the first time an array of on-demand single photon emitters that operate at room tempera­ture.

Using an atomically thin material, hexa­gonal boron nitride (hBN), placed on nano­pillars, the researchers demon­strated single photon emission at the pillar loca­tions. In simplest terms, the break­through allows one to know where the single photon emitters are located. Single photon emitters are essential building blocks for next generation quantum communi­cation and computing protocols as they can be used as a quantum bit.

The secure communi­cation comes about because of the quantum property of the single photon making eaves­dropping impossible. The current break­through has solved a long-standing and practical hurdle of realizing deter­ministic single photon emitters at room tempera­ture. Previously, very low tempera­tures were necessary or the photons were hard to extract using other materials such as diamond, noted Menon. And, if single photon emission did occur at room tempera­ture, it happened at random locations. The work was carried out by graduate student Nicholas Proscia, post-doctoral researchers, Zav Shotan and Hari­shankar Jayakumar, and under­graduate students Michael Dollar and Charles Cohen, in colla­boration with theory groups from the Austra­lian National Uni­versity and the Center for Physical Science and Tech­nology, Lithuania. (Source: CCNY)

Reference: N. V. Proscia et al.: Near-deterministic activation of room-temperature quantum emitters in hexagonal boron nitride, Optica 5, 1128 (2018); DOI: 10.1364/OPTICA.5.001128

Link: Laboratory for Nano and Micro Photonics, Dept. of Physics, City College of New York, New York, USA

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