Wednesday, June 12, 2024

World’s Tiniest Quantum Light Detector Embedded On Silicon Chip

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Despite their small size, these detectors remain sensitive to quantum noise, crucial for measuring quantum light.

Researchers at the University of Bristol have advanced quantum technology by integrating a tiny quantum light detector onto a silicon chip. This work, detailed in the paper “A Bi-CMOS electronic photonic integrated circuit quantum light detector” in *Science Advances*, represents a significant step in miniaturizing quantum technology.

The integration of a quantum light detector, smaller than a human hair, onto a silicon chip is a key milestone toward the age of quantum technologies using light. The capability to manufacture high-performance electronics and photonics at scale is crucial for developing advanced information technologies. The international effort to create quantum technologies in existing commercial facilities involves both academic and industrial research. Quantum computing requires high-performance quantum hardware at scale, due to the large number of components needed to build a single machine.The researchers have demonstrated a quantum light detector on a chip with a circuit measuring 80 by 220 micrometers. The detector’s small size allows for high-speed quantum communications and fast optical quantum computer operations.

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Established and commercially accessible fabrication techniques improve the prospects for early integration into technologies like sensing and communications. Professor Jonathan Matthews, Director of the Quantum Engineering Technology Labs, explains that homodyne detectors are prevalent in quantum optics applications. These detectors, operating at room temperature, are useful for quantum communications, sensitive sensors, and designs of quantum computers. The team linked a photonics chip with a separate electronics chip to increase the speed of quantum light detectors. The new electronic-photonic integrated chip further increases speed by a factor of 10 and reduces footprint by a factor of 50. 

Dr. Giacomo Ferranti highlights that quantum noise behavior reveals information about quantum light and sensor sensitivity. The study demonstrated that reducing the detector’s size and increasing its speed did not affect its sensitivity. Future research aims to integrate other quantum technology hardware at the chip scale, improve detector efficiency, and trial the detector in various applications. Professor Matthews emphasizes the importance of scalable fabrication for quantum technology to ensure its broad impact and benefits.

Reference:Joel Tasker et al, A Bi-CMOS electronic-photonic integrated circuit quantum light detector, Science Advances (2024). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.adk6890.

Akanksha Gaur
Akanksha Gaur
Akanksha Sondhi Gaur is a journalist at EFY. She has a German patent and brings a robust blend of 7 years of industrial & academic prowess to the table. Passionate about electronics, she has penned numerous research papers showcasing her expertise and keen insight.


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