Research opens doors in photonic quantum information processing, optical signal processing and microwave photonics
Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a new integrated photonics platform that can store light and electrically control its frequency (or color) in an integrated circuit.
The platform draws inspiration from atomic systems and could have a wide range of applications including photonic quantum information processing, optical signal processing, and microwave photonics.
"This is the first time that microwaves have been used to shift the frequency of light in a programmable manner on a chip," said Mian Zhang, a former postdoctoral fellow in Applied Physics at SEAS, now CEO of Harvard-spawned startup HyperLight Corporation and first author of the paper.
"Many quantum photonic and classical optics applications require shifting of optical frequencies, which has been difficult. We show that not only can we change the frequency in a controllable manner, but using this new ability we can also store and retrieve light on demand, which has not been possible before."
The research was published in Nature Photonics.
Microwave signals are ubiquitous in wireless communications, but researchers thought they interact too weakly with photons. That was before SEAS researchers, led by Marko Loncar, the Tiantsai Lin Professor of Electrical Engineering, developed a technique to fabricate high-performance optical microstructures using lithium niobate, a material with powerful electro-optic properties.
Loncar and his team previously demonstrated that they can propagate light through lithium niobate nanowaveguides with very little loss and control light intensity with on-chip lithium niobate modulators. In the latest research, they combined and further developed these technologies to build a molecule-like system and used this new platform to precisely control the frequency and phase of light on a chip.
"The unique properties of lithium niobate, with its low optical loss and strong electro-optic nonlinearity, give us dynamic control of light in a programmable electro-optic system," said Cheng Wang, co-first author of the paper and now Assistant Professor at City University of Hong Kong. "This could lead to the development of programmable filters for optical and microwave signal processing and will find applications in radio astronomy, radar technology, and more."
Next, the researchers aim to develop even lower-loss optical waveguides and microwave circuits using the same architecture to enable even higher efficiencies and, ultimately, achieve a quantum link between microwave and optical photons.
"The energies of microwave and optical photons differ by five orders of magnitude, but our system could possibly bridge this gap with almost 100 percent efficiency, one photon at a time," said Loncar, senior author of the paper. "This would enable the realization of a quantum cloud - a distributed network of quantum computers connected via secure optical communication channels."
The research was also co-authored by Yaowen Hu, Amirhassan Shams-Ansari, Tianhao Ren from the Laboratory for Nanoscale Optics at Harvard; and Shanhui Fan, Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. It was supported in part by the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the Army Research Laboratory Center for Distributed Quantum Information, and the Center for Integrated Quantum Materials (CIQM). Device fabrication was performed at the Center for Nanoscale Systems at Harvard University.
Leah Burrows | EurekAlert!
Shaping nanoparticles for improved quantum information technology
15.10.2019 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory
Controlling superconducting regions within an exotic metal
11.10.2019 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
A very special kind of light is emitted by tungsten diselenide layers. The reason for this has been unclear. Now an explanation has been found at TU Wien (Vienna)
It is an exotic phenomenon that nobody was able to explain for years: when energy is supplied to a thin layer of the material tungsten diselenide, it begins to...
Researchers at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have explored the initial consequences of the interaction of light with molecules on the surface of nanoscopic aerosols.
The nanocosmos is constantly in motion. All natural processes are ultimately determined by the interplay between radiation and matter. Light strikes particles...
Particles that are mere nanometers in size are at the forefront of scientific research today. They come in many different shapes: rods, spheres, cubes, vesicles, S-shaped worms and even donut-like rings. What makes them worthy of scientific study is that, being so tiny, they exhibit quantum mechanical properties not possible with larger objects.
Researchers at the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility located at DOE's Argonne National...
A new research project at the TH Mittelhessen focusses on the development of a novel light weight design concept for leisure boats and yachts. Professor Stephan Marzi from the THM Institute of Mechanics and Materials collaborates with Krake Catamarane, which is a shipyard located in Apolda, Thuringia.
The project is set up in an international cooperation with Professor Anders Biel from Karlstad University in Sweden and the Swedish company Lamera from...
Superconductivity has fascinated scientists for many years since it offers the potential to revolutionize current technologies. Materials only become superconductors - meaning that electrons can travel in them with no resistance - at very low temperatures. These days, this unique zero resistance superconductivity is commonly found in a number of technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Future technologies, however, will harness the total synchrony of electronic behavior in superconductors - a property called the phase. There is currently a...
02.10.2019 | Event News
02.10.2019 | Event News
19.09.2019 | Event News
17.10.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
17.10.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
17.10.2019 | Life Sciences