Researchers at the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) developed a new technique that could enable future advancements in quantum technology. The technique squeezes quantum dots, tiny particles made of thousands of atoms, to emit single photons (individual particles of light) with precisely the same color and with positions that can be less than a millionth of a meter apart.
In order for quantum dots to “communicate” (interact), they have to emit light at the same wavelength. The size of a quantum dot determines this emission wavelength. However, just as no two snowflakes are alike, no two quantum dots have exactly the same size and shape — at least when they’re initially created. “This breakthrough could accelerate the development of quantum information technologies and brain-inspired computing,” said Allan Bracker, a chemist at NRL and one of the researchers on the project, in a statement.
While other scientists have demonstrated “tuning” of quantum dot wavelengths in the past, this is the first time researchers have achieved it precisely in both wavelength and position. “This means that we can do it not just for two or three, but for many quantum dots in an integrated circuit, which could be used for optical, rather than electrical computing,” Bracker added.
“NRL’s new method for tuning the wavelength of quantum dots could enable new technologies that use the strange properties of quantum physics for computing, communication and sensing,” Bracker said. “It may also lead to ‘neuromorphic‘ or brain-inspired computing based on a network of tiny lasers.”