Quantum Emitter Integration May Enable Quantum Circuits

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Researchers integrated silicon photonic devices with a solid-state single photon emitter, using a hybrid approach that combines silicon photonic waveguides with quantum dots. The silicon photonic waveguides were used for manipulating light, and the InAs/InP quantum dots were used to generate light efficiently at wavelengths spanning the O-band and C-band.

Schematic of the integrated InP nanobeam and silicon waveguide for quantum photonic devices, UNIST.

A schematic of the integrated InP nanobeam and silicon waveguide. Courtesy of UNIST.

The research team, from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) and the University of Maryland, removed the quantum dots via a pick-and-place procedure, using a microprobe tip combined with a focused ion beam and scanning electron microscope. Using the pick-and-place technique the researchers positioned epitaxially grown InAs/InP quantum dots, emitting at telecom wavelengths, on a silicon photonic chip with nanoscale precision. They used an adiabatic tapering approach to efficiently transfer the emission from the quantum dots to the waveguide. The researchers also incorporated an on-chip silicon-photonic beamsplitter to perform a Hanbury-Brown and Twiss measurement.

Scanning electron microscope image of the fabricated nanobeam that is suspended by thin tethers that attach it to the bulk substrate, UNIST.

This is a scanning electron microscope image of the fabricated nanobeam that is suspended by thin tethers that attach it to the bulk substrate. Courtesy of UNIST.

The research team believes their approach could enable integration of precharacterized III–V quantum photonic devices into large-scale photonic structures, which would enable complex devices composed of many emitters and photons.

“In order to build photon-based integrated quantum optical devices, it is necessary to produce as many quantum light sources as possible in a single chip,” said UNIST professor Je-Hyung Kim. “Through this study, we have proposed the basic form of quantum optical devices by producing a highly effective quantum light source with quantum dots and creating the pathway to manipulate light with the use of silicon substrates.”

The research team said the integration “opens up the possibility to leverage the highly advanced photonics capabilities developed in silicon to control and route nonclassical light from on-demand single photon sources. In addition, the fabricated devices operate at telecom wavelengths and can be electrically driven, which is useful for fiber-based quantum communication.”

The research was published in Nano Letters (doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.7b03220).

Published: December 2017
integrated photonics
Integrated photonics is a field of study and technology that involves the integration of optical components, such as lasers, modulators, detectors, and waveguides, on a single chip or substrate. The goal of integrated photonics is to miniaturize and consolidate optical elements in a manner similar to the integration of electronic components on a microchip in traditional integrated circuits. Key aspects of integrated photonics include: Miniaturization: Integrated photonics aims to...
quantum dots
A quantum dot is a nanoscale semiconductor structure, typically composed of materials like cadmium selenide or indium arsenide, that exhibits unique quantum mechanical properties. These properties arise from the confinement of electrons within the dot, leading to discrete energy levels, or "quantization" of energy, similar to the behavior of individual atoms or molecules. Quantum dots have a size on the order of a few nanometers and can emit or absorb photons (light) with precise wavelengths,...
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