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Photons on demand

by viakhnine last modified September 07, 2013 - 11:04

A recently established R&D Company - Photonic Nano-Meta Technologies, LLC (PNMT) - is developing a single-photon source for applications in biology, spectroscopy, materials science, and quantum information processing. Certain key sub-tasks of the project (such as development of a prototype single-photon emission and detection system) have now been accomplished. PNMT invites laser manufacturers for collaboration in development of a commercial suite of optical instruments that will consist of a pulsed laser, a single-photon generator, and a single-photon detector.

Photonic Nano-Meta Technologies, LLC (PNMT) is a recently established R&D Company financed jointly by The Skolkovo Innovation Center and Quantum Wave Fund - a venture capital firm, specializing in breakthrough quantum technologies. PNMT is a subsidiary of Nano-Meta Technologies, Inc. (West Lafayette, IN, USA) a high-tech Company, founded by university professors - leading experts in nanophotonics and metamaterials. PNMT is developing a commercial chip-compatible single-photon source (SPS) that will generate isolated photons on demand and will operate in a broad spectral range.

The work started in January of 2013, and the following project sub-tasks have now been accomplished.

An experimental single-photon emission and detection system has been developed. The photons are emitted by the nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers in diamond nano-crystals. The size of nano-diamonds is 20-140 nm; the number of NV-centers per nano-crystal is 1-10; optical pumping by a CW-laser operating at the wavelength λ = 532 nm is employed. The system includes a confocal microscope and it allows us to experimentally measure the correlation function of the photon source. It is planned to add a picosecond laser to the system as an alternative to the CW-laser energy source for single-photon generation.

Diamond films with the thickness in the range 50-100 nm have also been fabricated with controlled number of NV-centers in them.

Exploration of hyperbolic metamaterials (HMM) constructed from CMOS-compatible plasmonic material components has begun. The cumulative sickness of the HMM samples used is 200 nm; the number of alternating metallic and dielectric layers - 40.

A large-scale computer modeling of light emission by the NV-centers electromagnetically coupled with HMM samples has been carried out. The HMM samples with- and without nanoantennas attached to them have been analyzed. It has been established that HMM outfitted with nanoantennas - in this case, concentric dielectric rings - are capable of increasing the rate of photons emission by the NV-centers ten-fold or more.

Under pulsed (as opposed to CW) excitation, rigorous quantum-electrodynamical calculations have indicated that optimization of the pumping pulse shape can increase the rate of absorption of the pumping photons by the NV-centers two-fold. This, in turn, allows one to decrease by about 50% the required optical pumping intensity, making the device more economical.

The constituent elements of the SPS currently under development are:

  • a nano-diamond crystal, containing one NV-center;
  • a nano-structured HMM sample positioned in close vicinity of the diamond nano-crystal;
  • a nanoantenna and a nano-waveguide.

The energy to the SPS will be supplied via optical pumping by a pulsed laser.

The target features and parameters of the SPS are:

  • generation of a single photon per laser-pumping pulse,
  • production of photons on demand with a 100 ps system response time,
  • maximum photon emission rate - 10 MHz,
  • the size of the SPS including all functional elements - a few microns,
  • the wavelength range where the photons are emitted - 600-750 nm.

PMNT invites manufacturers of pulsed lasers for collaboration in development of a suite of optical instruments, including

  • a single-photon generator,
  • a pulsed laser, and
  • a photon detector

for applications in biology (in particular, interaction of isolated photons with bio-cells), spectroscopy, materials science, and quantum information processing.

Contact:
Andrey N. Smolyaninov, PNMT President
Phone: +7 (499)152-86-05
email: info@photonanometa.com

Text was prepared by:
Vladimir Iakhnine
Technical writer and IT specialist, PNMT
Phone: 1 (416) 901-7821
email: viakhnine@photonanometa.com