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!
Open source software helps researchers extract key insights from huge sensor datasets
22.03.2019 | Universität des Saarlandes
Touchscreens go 3D with buttons that pulsate and vibrate under your fingertips
14.03.2019 | Universität des Saarlandes
DESY and MPSD scientists create high-order harmonics from solids with controlled polarization states, taking advantage of both crystal symmetry and attosecond electronic dynamics. The newly demonstrated technique might find intriguing applications in petahertz electronics and for spectroscopic studies of novel quantum materials.
The nonlinear process of high-order harmonic generation (HHG) in gases is one of the cornerstones of attosecond science (an attosecond is a billionth of a...
Nano- and microtechnology are promising candidates not only for medical applications such as drug delivery but also for the creation of little robots or flexible integrated sensors. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) have created magnetic microparticles, with a newly developed method, that could pave the way for building micro-motors or guiding drugs in the human body to a target, like a tumor. The preparation of such structures as well as their remote-control can be regulated using magnetic fields and therefore can find application in an array of domains.
The magnetic properties of a material control how this material responds to the presence of a magnetic field. Iron oxide is the main component of rust but also...
Due to the special arrangement of its molecules, a new coating made of corn starch is able to repair small scratches by itself through heat: The cross-linking via ring-shaped molecules makes the material mobile, so that it compensates for the scratches and these disappear again.
Superficial micro-scratches on the car body or on other high-gloss surfaces are harmless, but annoying. Especially in the luxury segment such surfaces are...
The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.
A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.
"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...
11.03.2019 | Event News
01.03.2019 | Event News
28.02.2019 | Event News
22.03.2019 | Life Sciences
22.03.2019 | Life Sciences
22.03.2019 | Information Technology