A new quantum sensor developed by researchers at the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) has proven it can outperform existing technologies and promises significant advancements in long-range 3D imaging and monitoring the success of cancer treatments (Nature Nanotechnology, “Tapered InP nanowire arrays for efficient broadband high-speed single-photon detection”).
The sensors are the first of their kind and are based on semiconductor nanowires that can detect single particles of light with high timing resolution, speed and efficiency over an unparalled wavelength range, from ultraviolet to near-infrared.
The technology also has the ability to significantly improve quantum communication and remote sensing capabilities.

“A sensor needs to be very efficient at detecting light. In applications like quantum radar, surveillance, and nighttime operation, very few particles of light return to the device,” said principal investigator Michael Reimer, an IQC faculty member and assistant professor in the Faculty of Engineering’s electrical and computer engineering department. “In these cases, you want to be able to detect every single photon coming in.

“The next generation quantum sensor designed in Reimer’s lab is so fast and efficient that it can absorb and detect a single particle of light, called a photon, and refresh for the next one within nanoseconds. The researchers created an array of tapered nanowires that turn incoming photons into electric current that can be amplified and detected.

Image Credit:  Uni. of Waterloo

Read more at nanowerk.com

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