Single photon sources are devices which emit a single light 'particles' on demand. They are an important element of the toolbox for new quantum technologies such as 'quantum cryptography' which offers perfectly secure communications, and 'quantum computing' which offers massively parallel processing via the strange properties of quantum physics. Although several different designs of single photon sources have been developed in the past, it remains difficult to make devices with appropriate specifications that can be used outside of laboratory environments, and so these quantum technologies have been slow to develop into useful applications.
This project seeks to develop a range of single photon sources that are easy to use and compatible with non-laboratory environments. The key innovation of the project is to exploit a phenomenon known as dephasing, which has up until now been seen as a barrier to progress but which new theory suggests has potential to benefit the development of useful devices. The single photons will be produced by defects in diamond, as the unique properties of this amazing material provide an excellent platform for single photon emitters that will be stable and long-lasting, ideal for devices that are both robust and reliable. In addition we introduce novel ways to control the photon emission process using 'optical microcavities'. These micrometre scale devices allow the trapping of photons - an essential element for building single photon sources that emit high quality photons in a predictable fashion.
The WASPS project brings together six European research groups that are world leading in the science of diamond, optical microcavities, and quantum technologies, with theoretical physicists who have developed the ideas to exploit dephasing effects for controlling the light-matter interaction. In a three year project (Nov 2013 - Oct 2016), our consortium aims to produce key devices to enable both communications and computing technologies. Our aim is no less than to produce a transformational step in the realisation of 'quantum information' as a new technological platform within Europe.
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