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Faster Photons Could Enable Total Data Security

A photon is the basic unit of light.

University of Sheffield researchers have generated rapid single-photon light pulses, each representing a bit of binary code.

Credit: JFC

Scientists at the University of Sheffield in the U.K. have generated rapid single-photon light pulses, each of which represents a bit of binary code.

They utilized a phenomenon called the Purcell Effect to produce the photons, placing a nanocrystal called a quantum dot inside a cavity within a larger crystal, the semiconductor chip. The quantum dot is bombarded with light from a laser which it absorbs, then emits in the form of a photon.

If the nanocrystal is placed inside a very small cavity, the laser light bounces around inside the walls, which can create noise that distorts the data. The Sheffield researchers overcame this problem by funneling photons away from the cavity and inside the chip, to separate the two different types of pulse.

This technique enabled them to make the photon emission rate about 50 times faster than would be possible without using the Purcell Effect.

From The University of Sheffield
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