University of Copenhagen researchers have developed a nanocomponent that emits light particles carrying quantum information. Less than one-tenth the width of a human hair, the miniscule component makes it possible to scale up and could ultimately reach the capabilities required for a quantum computer or quantum internet. The research result puts Denmark at the head of the pack in the quantum race.
Teams around the world are working to develop quantum technologies. The focus of researchers based at the Center for Hybrid Quantum Networks (Hy-Q) at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute is on developing quantum communication technology based on light circuits, known as nanophotonic circuits. The UCPH researchers have now achieved a major advancement.
“It is a truly major result, despite the component being so tiny,” says Assistant Professor Leonardo Midolo, who has been working towards this breakthrough for the past five years.
The research team has invented a component, called a nanomechanical router, that emits quantum information carried by light particles (photons) and routes them into different directions inside a photonic chip. Photonic chips are like computer microchips – only, they use light instead of electrons. The component merges nano-opto-mechanics and quantum photonics – two areas of research that, until now, have never been combined. Most spectacular of all, is the size of the component, just a tenth that of a human hair. It is this microscopic size that makes it so promising for future applications.
Image Credit: University of Copenhagen