Silicon Quantum Photonics

  • Thompson, Mark G (Principal Investigator)

Project Details


Quantum information science and technologies offer a completely new and powerful approach to processing and transmitting information by combining two of the great scientific discoveries of the 20th century - quantum mechanics and information theory. By encoding information in quantum systems, quantum information processing promises huge computation power, while quantum communications is already in its first stages of commercialisation, and offers the ultimate in information security. However, for quantum technologies to have as big an impact on science, technology and society as anticipated, a practical scalable integration platform is required where all the key components can be integrated to a single micro-chip technology, very much akin to the development of the first microelectronic integrated circuits.

Of the various approaches to realising quantum technologies, single particles of light (photons) are particularly appealing due to their low-noise properties and ease of manipulation at the single qubit level. It is possible to harness the quantum mechanical properties of single photons, taking advantage of strange quantum properties such as superposition and entanglement to provide new ways to encode, process and transmit information. Quantum photonics promises to be a truly disruptive technology in information processing, communications and sensing, and for deepening our understanding of fundamental quantum physics and quantum information science. However, current approaches are limited to simple optical circuits with low photon numbers, inefficient detectors and no clear routes to scalability.

For quantum optic information science to go beyond current limitations, and for quantum applications to have a significant real-world impact, there is a clear and urgent need to develop a fully integrated quantum photonic technology platform to realise large and complex quantum circuits capable of generating, manipulating and detecting large photon-number states. This Fellowship will enable the PI and his research team to develop such a technology platform, based on silicon photonics. Drawing from the advanced fabrication technologies developed for the silicon microelectronics industry, state of the art silicon quantum photonic devices will enable compact, large-scale and complex quantum circuits, experiments and applications. This technology platform will overcome the current 8-photon barrier in a scalable way, enable circuits of unprecedented complexity, and will be used to address important fundamental questions, develop new approaches to quantum communications, enhance the performance of quantum sensing, provide a platform for new routes to quantum simulations, and achieve computational complexities that can challenge the limits of conventional computing. This multidisciplinary research programme will bring together engineers, physicists and industrial partners to tackle these scientific and technological challenges.
Effective start/end date1/10/1330/09/18


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