A team of Australian scientists are trying their best to cross the limits of optical computers, producing some of the brightest quantum emitters ever made, and turning them over a large spectral scale. Optical computers are devices that have the ability to beam information and data at the speed of light, rather than depending on quite slow electrons, and to execute calculations that are impossible using traditional processors. But one of the main obstacles in building efficient optical computers is being capable to control that light over a range of frequencies so that it can move information, something that needs a tunable quantum emitter.
By using a unique material identified as hexagonal boron nitride (hBN), the scientists have made a quantum emitter that can suck out a single, tunable particle of light, a photon at a time, and is simple to engineer using conventional processors. What exactly does this mean? Well hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) is a typical graphene-like mixture, only one atom is thick, and made of a lattice of nitrogen and boron. In recent times, it was only actually used as a lubricant and in making of cosmetics, but scientists at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) found last year that it could be used to discharge quantized pulses of light.
Mike Ford said, one of the scientists at the time, "This material, layered hexagonal boron nitride, is rather irreplaceable. It is atomically thin and is usually used as a lubricant; however upon cautious processing we discovered that it can emit quantized pulses of light, single photons that can move data."
Now the same scientists have discovered some more motivating properties in hexagonal boron nitride (hBN). Not only is it able to emit single photons of light, it is also capable of emitting many types of light.
The scientists write in their recent paper, "Remarkably, the emitters are tremendously robust and withstand aggressive annealing treatments in oxidizing and reducing surroundings. Our results found a step toward deterministic engineering of lone emitters in 2D materials and hold great promise for the use of faults in boron nitride as sources for quantum information processing and Nano-photonics."
So by what method does a pulse of light work with quantum computing? In a old-fashioned optical computer system, photons can be used to stock information and data by being in either vertical or horizontal polarization. Furthermore, they can also be changed into quantum bits (or qubits) by putting them into superposition, a unique quantum form where they’re in both vertical and horizontal polarization at the same time. This has the power to overhaul not just the security, but also processing command.
Milos Toth, from UTS said, "This finding is a game changer in the field of lone emitters. Currently, all encryption is brittle in principal but quantum cryptography is unbreakable,you would know instantly if someone was trying to snoop."
The scientists have also been looking at a second compound for discharging ultra-bright photons. In cooperation with MIT, they have discovered that silicon carbide, a technologically developed platform commonly used as LEDs and sensors since the 1980s, was also a very bright quantum emitter. Ultra-bright photons and silicon carbide both of these technologies also work at normal temperature, something that scientists have fought to achieve in the past. The scientists are hopeful that these discoveries will enhance in the developing body of work on quantum photonic technologies, carrying us closer to actual life optical computers.
Igor Aharonovich, member of the team, said, "These findings can simply bring quantum photonic technologies on to a lone chip and forward to a commercial world."