Researchers Create Light Manipulation Technique for Future Quantum Computer Chips.

Researchers create light manipulation technique for future quantum computer chips

Quantum computers are one of the most important technological breakthroughs of the twenty-first century.

Paderborner Wissenschaftler entwickeln neue Technologie zur Manipulation von Licht. Image Credit: Paderborn University

University of Paderborn researchers, operating under Professor Thomas Zentgraf and in collaboration with colleagues from the Australian National University and Singapore University of Technology and Design, have developed a new light manipulation technique that could be used as the basis for future optical quantum computers.

The findings have now been published in the prestigious journal “Nature photonics

New light-manipulating optical elements will enable more innovative applications in new information technologies, especially in quantum computers. However, non-reciprocal light propagation through nanostructured surfaces, where these surfaces have been exploited on a microscopic scale, remains a major challenge.

In mutual propagation, light can take the same path forward and backward through a structure; however, non-reciprocal reproduction is similar to a one-way street where it can only spread in one direction

Thomas Zentgraf, Professor, Paderborn University

Zentgraf was also the head of the ultrafast nanophotonics working group.

Non-reciprocity is an optical property that causes light to generate different material properties when its direction is reversed. A window made of glass that is transparent on one side and allows light to pass through, but on the other acts as a reflective surface and reflects the light is one such example. This is called duality.

In the field of photonics, such a duality could be very useful in developing innovative optical elements for manipulating light”, says Zentgraf.

Non-reciprocal light propagation was merged with laser light frequency conversion in an existing collaboration between his working group at Paderborn University and scientists from the Australian National University and the Singapore University of Technology and Design.

We used the frequency conversion in the specially designed structures, with dimensions in the range of several hundred nanometers, to convert infrared light – invisible to the human eye – into visible light.explains Dr. Sergey Kruk, Marie Curie Fellow in the Zentgraf group.

The studies showed that this transformation process for the nanostructured surface occurs only in one illumination path and is suppressed in the opposite illumination direction. The duality of the frequency conversion characteristics was used to program images in a fairly transparent surface.

We arranged the different nanostructures to give a different view depending on whether the sample surface is illuminated from the front or the back. The images only became visible when we used infrared laser light for the illumination

Thomas Zentgraf, Professor, Paderborn University

The severity of the frequency-converted light within the visible range was still very low in their first experiments. The next challenge is to increase efficiency even further so that less infrared light is needed for frequency conversion.

The orientation control for frequency conversion in potentially optical integrated circuits could be used to directly exchange light with new light or to create unique photon conditions on a small chip for quantum optical calculations.

We may see the application in future optical quantum computers where the targeted production of individual photons using frequency conversion plays an important role.”, says Zentgraf.

Magazine reference:

stool, SS, et al† (2022) Asymmetric parametric generation of images with nonlinear dielectric metasurfaces. Nature


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