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Toward Optical Quantum Computing

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nanoscale air gap simulation

Creating an appropriately shaped, nanoscale air gap in a block of silicon would boost the maximum electric field of a weak laser by more than 10,000 times.

Credit: H. Choi / MIT

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a device enabling photon-photon interactions at room temperature by applying a silicon crystal etched with patterns to introduce "nonlinearities" into optical-signal transmissions. "It's been a holy grail to come up with methods to realize single-photon-level nonlinearities at room temperature under ambient conditions," says MIT professor Dirk Englund.

The holes etched into the rectangular crystal are widest at the ends of the rectangle and narrow toward the center, while a thinner channel links the two middle holes with two concentric tips on opposite sides. The pattern temporarily corrals light, and the concentric tips focus the electric field of the trapped light.

Converting the prototype into a quantum gate requires a dielectric sandwiched between the tips. The size and spacing of the holes are customized to the device's "resonance frequency," which should be shifted by the nonlinear wobbling of the dielectric's electrons.

From MIT News 
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