Quantum computing breakthrough for Tyndall Institute

Dr Emanuele Pelucchi, Tyndall Institute, UCC (Image: Tyndall)

14 November 2016

A research team at the Cork’s Tyndall Institute has made an important breakthrough in the development of quantum computing by developing quantum dot light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that can produce entangled photons, theoretically enabling their use to encode information for quantum computing.

This is a critical step in true quantum computing development, as the new breed of machines look to harness quantum matter states, such as entangled photons of light or multiple states of atoms, to encode information. In theory, this can lead to much faster and more powerful computer processing, but this technology to underpin quantum computing is currently difficult to develop at scale.

Though not a first for LEDs to produce entangled photons, the methods and materials described in the new paper have important implications for the future of quantum technologies, said researcher Dr Emanuele Pelucchi, head of Epitaxy and Physics of Nanostructures and a member of the Science Foundation Ireland-funded Irish Photonic Integration Centre (IPIC) at Tyndall National Institute in Cork.

“The new development here is that we have engineered a scalable array of electrically driven quantum dots using easily-sourced materials and conventional semiconductor fabrication technologies, and our method allows you to direct the position of these sources of entangled photons,” said Dr Pelucchi.

“Being able to control the positions of the quantum dots and to build them at scale are key factors to underpin more widespread use of quantum computing technologies as they develop.”

The team’s development uses nanotechnology to electrify arrays of the pyramid-shaped quantum dots that produces entangled photons.

“We exploit intrinsic nanoscale properties of the whole ‘pyramidal’ structure, in particular, an engineered self-assembled vertical quantum wire, which selectively injects current into the vicinity of a quantum dot,” said Dr Pelucchi.  “The reported results are an important step towards the realisation of integrated quantum photonic circuits designed for quantum information processing tasks, where thousands or more sources would function in unison.”

“It is exciting to see how research at Tyndall continues to break new ground, particularly in relation to this development in quantum computing,” said Dr Kieran Drain, CEO, Tyndall National Institute. “The significant breakthrough by Dr Pelucchi advances our understanding of how to harness the opportunity and power of quantum computing and undoubtedly accelerates progress in this field internationally. Photonics innovations by the IPIC team at Tyndall are being commercialised across a number sectors and as a result, we are directly driving global innovation through our investment, talent and research in this area.”



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