Researchers from University of Copenhagen have developed a nano-component capable of emitting light which can carry quantum information. The particle is comparable to 1/10th of the width of human hair. The miniscule nano-component can be scaled up to ultimately reach a capacity needed for a quantum internet or a quantum computer. The groundbreaking research has undoubtedly made Denmark a leader in the quantum R&D race.
There are number of research groups around the world who are working toward developing quantum technologies. The researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute (part of University of Copenhagen) Center for Hybrid Quantum Networks have particularly focused on the development of quantum communication technologies based nanophotonic or light circuits. The nano-component development is a major achievement for UCPH researchers.
Assistant professor at the institute, Leonardo Midolo said that it’s a major advancement as they have managed to make the component so tiny. He has been working towards this end for last five years.
The component made by the team is called as a nanomechanical router which is capable of emitting light particles carrying quantum information. The component disperses them in different directions in a photonic chip. Photonic chips are similar to computer microchips only difference being that they use light in place of electrons.
The research team has managed to combine two different research areas: quantum photonics and nano-opto-mechanics which other researchers have not been able to combine yet. What is most surprising is the size of the component which is 1/10th of human hair. The microscopic size offered by the component, is what makes it most promising for applications in future.
Leonardo Midolo said that, the quantum technology can be scaled up combining the prowess of quantum photonics and nanomechanics. Quantum physics has faced a significant challenge of scaling systems which has until now only been able to send individual photons. To advance the field of quantum physics, there is need to scale systems which is offered by the component. Building of quantum internet or quantum computer in future will require large number of photons which can connect with each other and not just a single photon.
The invention is a quantum leap as it can control light in a chip. The existing technology could not integrate more than a few routers to be integrated but the nanomechanical routers have such a small size that several thousand of them can be fitted in a single chip. Midolo claims that their invention is extremely efficient which can emit a series of photons without losing a single photon.
The research was conducted at Niels Bohr Institute’s Quantum Photonics Group, which is a part of Hybrid Quantum Networks.