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New Hole-Punched Crystal Clears a Path for Quantum Light


A photonic crystal.

University of Maryland researchers have created a photonic chip that can generate and steer individual photons.

Credit: University of Maryland

Researchers from the University of Maryland's (UMD) Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) have created a photonic chip that generates and steers single photons.

"Here, we create an analogous environment for photons, one that protects the integrity of quantum light, even in the presence of certain defects," says UMD professor Mohammad Hafezi.

A photonic crystal is initially fabricated by punching thousands of triangular holes through a semiconductor sheet in a honeycomb-like array, and the team uses different hole patterns to adjust how light bends and bounces through the crystal.

The team verified that its design could offer protected lanes of traffic for single photons by creating a 60-degree turn in the hole pattern. This topology shielded the photons and permitted them to continue on their way without impediment.

"In quantum information processing, we need to protect each individual photon and make sure it doesn't get lost along the way," stresses JQI's Sabyasachi Barik.

From University of Maryland
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