Heat-free optical switch for Quantum Computing

Illustration of a controlled quantum circuit enabled by the reported heat-free switches. Credit: Lucas Schweickert

A European research collaboration, led by KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, reported a new method of controlling and manipulating single photons without generating heat. The solution makes it possible to integrate optical switches and single-photon detectors in a single chip.

The team reported to have developed an optical switch that is reconfigured with microscopic mechanical movement rather than heat, making the switch compatible with heat-sensitive single-photon detectors.

Using microelectromechanical (MEMS) actuation, the solution enables optical switching and photon detection on a single semiconductor chip while maintaining the cold temperatures required by single-photon detectors.

The new method enables control of single photons without the disadvantage of heating up a semiconductor chip and thereby rendering single-photon detectors useless. (Phys.org)

The paper has been published in Nature Communications.

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