Industry Focus - Optical Connections 2020


Less than one-tenth the width of a human hair, the miniscule component makes it possible to scale up, and could ultimately reach the capabilities required for a quantum computer or quantum internet.

UK TESTS WORLD-FIRST COMMERCIAL-GRADE QUANTUM NETWORK LINK The UK has marked a milestone in the development of ultra-secure quantum networks with the opening of the world’s first commercial-grade quantum test network link between the BT Labs in Suffolk and the Cambridge node of the UK’s new Quantum Network. A statement from BT noted that the advent of quantum computing will offer huge increases in computing power and capabilities, but in the wrong hands it could also be used to render many security encryption measures obsolete. In order to both provide and secure future communications, UK government and industry are working collaboratively on a range of new technologies, including Quantum Key Distribution (QKD). The new high-speed link will enable testing and demonstration of new quantum technologies. This will include trials of how these technologies can be used to secure critical and sensitive data across vertical industry sectors such as healthcare, banking, defence and logistics. Read the full story here. QUANTUM INFO BOOSTED BY THIN-FILM BREAKTHROUGH Efforts to create reliable, light-based quantum computing, quantum key distribution for cybersecurity, and other technologies has received a boost from a new study demonstrating an innovative method for creating thin films to control the emission of single photons. “Efficiently controlling certain thin-film materials so they emit single photons at precise locations – what’s known as deterministic quantum emission – paves the way for beyond-lab-scale quantum materials,” said Michael Pettes, a Los Alamos National Laboratory materials scientist and leader of the multi- institution research team responsible for the study. The scalability of these two-dimensional, tungsten/selenium thin films makes them potentially useful in processes to manufacture

the source in a phenomenon called backscattering, the researchers said. Read the full story here. LIGHT CONNECTS TWO WORLDS ON SINGLE CHIP Researchers of the University of Twente, Netherlands, say that for the first time they have succeeded in connecting two parts of an electronics chip using an on-chip optical link. A light connection could, for example, be a safer means of connecting high-power electronics and digital control circuitry on one chip, without a direct electrical link. Until now, however, an optical link was not possible using standard silicon chip technology. Vishal Agarwal, a UT PhD student, has managed to do so. He worked out how to develop a very small optocoupler circuit that delivers a data rate measured in megabits per second, and in an energy-efficient way. Read the full story here. WORLD FIRST SOLITON MANIPULATION ON SILICON A collaboration between the Sydney Nano Institute and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) has for the first time manipulated a light wave, or photonic information, on a silicon chip that retains its overall ‘shape’. The Sydney-Singapore team has for the first time observed ‘soliton’ dynamics on an Ultra-Silicon-Rich Nitride (USRN) device fabricated in Singapore using state-of-the-art optical characterisation tools at Sydney Nano. The team say this foundational work, published this week in Laser & Photonics Reviews, is important because most communications infrastructure still relies on silicon-based devices for propagation and reception of information. Manipulating solitons on-chip could potentially allow for the speed up of photonic communications devices and infrastructure. Ezgi Sahin, a PhD student at SUTD conducted the experiments with Dr Andrea Blanco Redondo at the University of Sydney. Read the full story here.

quantum technologies. Single-photon generation is a requirement for all- optical quantum computing and key distribution in quantum communications, and it is crucial for advancing quantum

information technologies. Read the full story here.

NANOCOMPONENTS DEVELOPED FOR QUANTUM COMMS University of Copenhagen researchers have developed a nanocomponent that emits light particles carrying quantum information. Less than one-tenth the width of a human hair, the miniscule component makes it possible to scale up, and could ultimately reach the capabilities required for a quantum computer or quantum internet. The focus of the researchers, based at the Centre for Hybrid Quantum Networks (Hy-Q) at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute, is on developing quantum communication technology based on light circuits, known as nanophotonic circuits. The UCPH researchers say they have now achieved a major advance in this field. “It is a truly major result, despite the component being so tiny,” says Assistant Professor Leonardo Midolo, who has been working towards this breakthrough for the past five years. Read the full story here. ENTANGLEMENT MILESTONE POINTS TO INTER-CITY QUANTUM NETWORKS A team led by Innsbruck physicist Ben Lanyon has sent a light particle entangled with matter over 50 km of optical fibre. This first-time achievement is hailed as paving the way for the practical use of quantum networks, and sets a milestone for a future quantum Internet. The Innsbruck team note that because quantum information cannot be copied, it is not possible to send this type of information over a classical network. Quantum information must be transmitted by quantum particles, and special interfaces are required for this. Read more here.



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