Minuscule quantum component developed by Hy-Q is a giant step in quantum technology

30. April 2019

Researchers from the DNRF’s Center for Hybrid Quantum Networks (Hy-Q) at the University of Copenhagen have led the development of a microscopic quantum component called a nano-mechanical router, which emits quantum information through light particles. The microscopic component is less than one-tenth the width of a human hair and can potentially be upscaled and thus constitute the framework for large quantum mechanics systems that can contribute to future quantum computers and a quantum internet.

The picture shows the research team behind the quantum component from Hy-Q. From left: Camille Papon, Leonardo Midolo and Xiaoyan Zhou.
The research team behind the quantum component from Hy-Q. From left: Camille Papon, Leonardo Midolo and Xiaoyan Zhou. Photo: Ola J. Joensen.

A research team from the Center of Excellence Hy-Q is leading a group of researchers who have developed a so-called nano-mechanical router, a microscopic component that can transport quantum information with the help of photons, or light particles. The quantum component has a diameter of less than one-tenth the width of a human hair and can potentially be used to create future quantum computers and a quantum internet.

“It is a truly major result, despite the component being so tiny,” said Leonardo Midolo, assistant professor at Hy-Q and one of the leading scientists behind the development, which has been five years in the making.

With this quantum component, the photon-carried quantum information can be emitted in different directions inside a so-called photon chip. Photon chips are like microchips in a computer, but instead of using electrons, as normal microchips do through electrical power, the photon chip uses photons. The quantum component developed by the research team at Hy-Q is also significant because it merges two hitherto separate research fields: nano-optomechanics and quantum photonics.

“Bringing the worlds of nano-mechanics and quantum photonics together is a way to scale up quantum technology. In quantum physics, it has been a challenge to scale systems. Until now, we have been able to send off individual photons. However, to do more advanced things with quantum physics, we will need to scale systems up, which is what this invention allows for. To build a quantum computer or quantum internet, you don’t just need one photon at a time; you need lots of photons simultaneously that you can connect to each other,” explained Midolo.

Read the scientific article in OSA publishing here

More information about the quantum component from Hy-Q can be found in a press release from the University of Copenhagen here