Carbon Nanotubes Emerge as Potential Quantum Light Sources

Facebook X LinkedIn Email
LOS ALAMOS, N.M., June 25, 2018 — Researchers report on the potential of carbon nanotubes as single-photon emitters for quantum information processing.

A team at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is collaborating with colleagues at CNRS (The French National Center for Scientific Research) and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) to investigate the single-photon purity, generation efficiency, and indistinguishability of single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs).

Use of carbon nanotubes as a quantum light source.
Carbon nanotube defect site generated by functionalization of a nanotube with a simple organic molecule. Altering the electronic structure at the defect enables room-temperature single-photon emission at telecom wavelengths. Courtesy of LANL.

The CNRS team is advancing the integration of nanotubes into photonic cavities for modifying their emission rates. The team at KIT is integrating nanotube-based electroluminescent devices with photonic waveguide structures. The focus of the Los Alamos team is the analysis of nanotube defects for pushing quantum emission to room-temperature and telecom wavelengths.

Researcher Stephen Doorn said that the LANL team is especially interested in advances in nanotube integration into photonic cavities for manipulating and optimizing light-emission properties.

“Nanotubes integrated into electroluminescent devices can provide greater control over timing of light emission, and they can be feasibly integrated into photonic structures,” Doorn said. "We are highlighting the development and photophysical probing of carbon nanotube defect states as routes to room-temperature single-photon emitters at telecom wavelengths."

Next steps will involve integration of the nanotubes into photonic resonators, to provide increased source brightness and to generate indistinguishable photons.

“We need to create single photons that are indistinguishable from one another, and that relies on our ability to functionalize tubes that are well-suited for device integration and to minimize environmental interactions with the defect sites,” Doorn said.

The LANL team previously developed the ability to chemically modify the nanotube structure to create deliberate defects to localize excitons and control their release.

The researchers also report on the primary challenges stemming from the properties of SWCNTs and the most promising roads for SWCNT-based chip integrated quantum photonic sources.

“Ultimately, we hope to draw more researchers into this field,” Doorn said.

The research was published in Nature Materials (doi:10.1038/s41563-018-0109-2).

Published: June 2018
An SI prefix meaning one billionth (10-9). Nano can also be used to indicate the study of atoms, molecules and other structures and particles on the nanometer scale. Nano-optics (also referred to as nanophotonics), for example, is the study of how light and light-matter interactions behave on the nanometer scale. See nanophotonics.
Nanophotonics is a branch of science and technology that explores the behavior of light on the nanometer scale, typically at dimensions smaller than the wavelength of light. It involves the study and manipulation of light using nanoscale structures and materials, often at dimensions comparable to or smaller than the wavelength of the light being manipulated. Aspects and applications of nanophotonics include: Nanoscale optical components: Nanophotonics involves the design and fabrication of...
Plasmonics is a field of science and technology that focuses on the interaction between electromagnetic radiation and free electrons in a metal or semiconductor at the nanoscale. Specifically, plasmonics deals with the collective oscillations of these free electrons, known as surface plasmons, which can confine and manipulate light on the nanometer scale. Surface plasmons are formed when incident photons couple with the conduction electrons at the interface between a metal or semiconductor...
The term quantum refers to the fundamental unit or discrete amount of a physical quantity involved in interactions at the atomic and subatomic scales. It originates from quantum theory, a branch of physics that emerged in the early 20th century to explain phenomena observed on very small scales, where classical physics fails to provide accurate explanations. In the context of quantum theory, several key concepts are associated with the term quantum: Quantum mechanics: This is the branch of...
Research & TechnologyeducationAmericasEuropeOpticsLight SourcesnanoMaterialscarbon nanotubesnanophotonicsplasmonicssingle photonsquantumquantum effectsnanostructureLos Alamos National Laboratorysingle photon source

We use cookies to improve user experience and analyze our website traffic as stated in our Privacy Policy. By using this website, you agree to the use of cookies unless you have disabled them.