Silicon Quantum Photonics

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Physics

Abstract

Quantum information science and technologies offer a completely new and powerful approach to processing and transmitting information by combining two of the great scientific discoveries of the 20th century - quantum mechanics and information theory. By encoding information in quantum systems, quantum information processing promises huge computation power, while quantum communications is already in its first stages of commercialisation, and offers the ultimate in information security. However, for quantum technologies to have as big an impact on science, technology and society as anticipated, a practical scalable integration platform is required where all the key components can be integrated to a single micro-chip technology, very much akin to the development of the first microelectronic integrated circuits.

Of the various approaches to realising quantum technologies, single particles of light (photons) are particularly appealing due to their low-noise properties and ease of manipulation at the single qubit level. It is possible to harness the quantum mechanical properties of single photons, taking advantage of strange quantum properties such as superposition and entanglement to provide new ways to encode, process and transmit information. Quantum photonics promises to be a truly disruptive technology in information processing, communications and sensing, and for deepening our understanding of fundamental quantum physics and quantum information science. However, current approaches are limited to simple optical circuits with low photon numbers, inefficient detectors and no clear routes to scalability.

For quantum optic information science to go beyond current limitations, and for quantum applications to have a significant real-world impact, there is a clear and urgent need to develop a fully integrated quantum photonic technology platform to realise large and complex quantum circuits capable of generating, manipulating and detecting large photon-number states. This Fellowship will enable the PI and his research team to develop such a technology platform, based on silicon photonics. Drawing from the advanced fabrication technologies developed for the silicon microelectronics industry, state of the art silicon quantum photonic devices will enable compact, large-scale and complex quantum circuits, experiments and applications. This technology platform will overcome the current 8-photon barrier in a scalable way, enable circuits of unprecedented complexity, and will be used to address important fundamental questions, develop new approaches to quantum communications, enhance the performance of quantum sensing, provide a platform for new routes to quantum simulations, and achieve computational complexities that can challenge the limits of conventional computing. This multidisciplinary research programme will bring together engineers, physicists and industrial partners to tackle these scientific and technological challenges.

Planned Impact

Quantum Information Technologies (QIT), such as the silicon quantum integrated circuits to be developed in this research programme, offer a completely new paradigm to information processing and communication, and are a potential disruptive technology for Information and Communications Technologies (ICT). This research programme encompasses the critical steps required to make practical quantum devices that can not only outperform their classical counterparts (for specific operation), but also bring quantum technologies out of the research laboratory and into an industrial environment where practical breakthrough technologies can be realised for real-world applications.

The number of potential beneficiaries of this research is large, and the potential impact is far reaching, both in the mid and the longer term. Realisation of a technology that can harness the unique properties of quantum mechanics to process and transmit information whilst at the same time allowing large-scale integration and compatibility with microelectronics, could form the basis of a whole new technology sector that could have a significant impact on our society, culture and economy. There are a number of industrial partners supporting this Fellowship, and their interest and commitment is a clear indication of the anticipated impact that this potential disruptive technology could offer.

In the short term, the specific goals of this Fellowship will be of interest to specialist groups such as scientists, industrialists and the scientifically curious public, but as the technology matures the potential impact will include many areas including science, industry, healthcare, society, and the UK and global economy. Potential beneficiaries include companies that are currently commercialising secure quantum communications equipment, and their prospective customers - multinational corporations, financial institutes, large government organisations and defence. Specialist scientific communities and the general public would also gain from the development of this cutting edge research topic, and will be informed through dissemination of information in journals, conference and popular science media.

In the long term, it is difficult to predict who will be the biggest beneficiaries of this technology, but successful QITs could feed into all areas of society, just as conventional ICT and electronic devices have penetrated all areas of today's society. The technology platform developed in this Fellowship will be used to realise a handful of specific device applications and prototypes that are of direct interest and relevance to the industrial programme partners, academic collaborators, the public and the scientific community. These proof-of-principle demonstrators will form the basis of key future quantum technologies. Examples of anticipated beneficiaries and the related potential impact are:

- The scientific community: QITs would enable the investigation of new physics, biology and chemistry through the simulation of complex quantum systems;

- Industry: quantum enhanced technologies could give rise to innovations that could aid in the design and manufacture of new products, but also the improvement of existing products, such as secure communications and low energy interconnects;

- The service industry: this sector could benefit from new developments in security and new ways to process and search large amounts of information;

- Healthcare: QITs could aid in the development of new drugs, sensing and analysis equipment;

- The UK economy: QITs will generate jobs and industries that will support the growth and competitiveness of the UK.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description The recent development of chip-scale integrated quantum photonic circuits has radically changed the way in which quantum optic experiments are performed, and provides a means to deliver complex and compact quantum photonic technologies for applications in quantum communications, sensing, and computation. Silicon photonics is a promising material system for the delivery of a fully integrated and large-scale quantum photonic technology platform, where all key components could be monolithically integrated into single quantum devices. We provide an overview of the field silicon quantum photonics, presenting the latest developments in the generation, manipulation, and detection of quantum states of light key on-chip functions that form the basic building blocks of future quantum information processing and communication technologies.
Exploitation Route It talks with collaborators in industry to see their commercial viability.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Government, Democracy and Justice,Security and Diplomacy

URL http://www.bristol.ac.uk/qet-labs/
 
Description Quantum Information Technologies, such as the silicon quantum integrated circuits developed in this research programme, can offer a completely new paradigm to information processing and communication and are a potential disruptive technology for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). This research programme encompassed critical steps required to make practical quantum devices, and bring quantum technologies out of the research laboratory and into an industrial environment where practical breakthroughs technologies can be realised for real-world applications. Prof Thompson has been involved with start-up companies who are realising this aim, including PsiQuantum Corp. and KETS Quantum Security Ltd.
 
Description Quantera
Amount € 200,000 (EUR)
Organisation European Commission H2020 
Sector Public
Country Belgium
Start 03/2018 
End 03/2021
 
Description Starting Grant
Amount £1,000,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 640079 
Organisation European Research Council (ERC) 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 03/2015 
End 03/2020
 
Description 2 way secondment between UoB and BAE Systems MEMS Fabrication Facility to build Silicon Quantum Photonic devices 
Organisation BAE Systems
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution -
Collaborator Contribution -
Impact -
Start Year 2014
 
Description Silicon Quantum Photonics 
Organisation Cornell University
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Integrating quantum emitters and quantum detectors with quantum waveguide circuits under my Fellowship
Collaborator Contribution Their support in my fellowship application
Impact EPSRC Fellowship and the subsequent publications resulting from this.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Silicon Quantum Photonics 
Organisation Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Integrating quantum emitters and quantum detectors with quantum waveguide circuits under my Fellowship
Collaborator Contribution Their support in my fellowship application
Impact EPSRC Fellowship and the subsequent publications resulting from this.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Silicon Quantum Photonics 
Organisation Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)
Country Netherlands 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Integrating quantum emitters and quantum detectors with quantum waveguide circuits under my Fellowship
Collaborator Contribution Their support in my fellowship application
Impact EPSRC Fellowship and the subsequent publications resulting from this.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Silicon Quantum Photonics 
Organisation Eindhoven University of Technology
Country Netherlands 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Integrating quantum emitters and quantum detectors with quantum waveguide circuits under my Fellowship
Collaborator Contribution Their support in my fellowship application
Impact EPSRC Fellowship and the subsequent publications resulting from this.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Silicon Quantum Photonics 
Organisation Oclaro
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Integrating quantum emitters and quantum detectors with quantum waveguide circuits under my Fellowship
Collaborator Contribution Their support in my fellowship application
Impact EPSRC Fellowship and the subsequent publications resulting from this.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Silicon Quantum Photonics 
Organisation STMicroelectrics
Country Switzerland 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Integrating quantum emitters and quantum detectors with quantum waveguide circuits under my Fellowship
Collaborator Contribution Their support in my fellowship application
Impact EPSRC Fellowship and the subsequent publications resulting from this.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Silicon Quantum Photonics 
Organisation Toshiba
Country Japan 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Integrating quantum emitters and quantum detectors with quantum waveguide circuits under my Fellowship
Collaborator Contribution Their support in my fellowship application
Impact EPSRC Fellowship and the subsequent publications resulting from this.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Silicon Quantum Photonics 
Organisation University of Glasgow
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Integrating quantum emitters and quantum detectors with quantum waveguide circuits under my Fellowship
Collaborator Contribution Their support in my fellowship application
Impact EPSRC Fellowship and the subsequent publications resulting from this.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Silicon Quantum Photonics 
Organisation University of New South Wales
Country Australia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Integrating quantum emitters and quantum detectors with quantum waveguide circuits under my Fellowship
Collaborator Contribution Their support in my fellowship application
Impact EPSRC Fellowship and the subsequent publications resulting from this.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Silicon Quantum Photonics 
Organisation University of Toronto
Country Canada 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Integrating quantum emitters and quantum detectors with quantum waveguide circuits under my Fellowship
Collaborator Contribution Their support in my fellowship application
Impact EPSRC Fellowship and the subsequent publications resulting from this.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Silicon Quantum Photonics 
Organisation University of the Basque Country
Country Spain 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Integrating quantum emitters and quantum detectors with quantum waveguide circuits under my Fellowship
Collaborator Contribution Their support in my fellowship application
Impact EPSRC Fellowship and the subsequent publications resulting from this.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Silicon Quantum Photonics 
Organisation XMOS
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Integrating quantum emitters and quantum detectors with quantum waveguide circuits under my Fellowship
Collaborator Contribution Their support in my fellowship application
Impact EPSRC Fellowship and the subsequent publications resulting from this.
Start Year 2013
 
Title CHIP-BASED QUANTUM KEY DISTRIBUTION 
Description There is provided an integrated-optic transmitter for transmitting light pulses to a further optical apparatus for generating a quantum cryptographic key according to at least one quantum cryptography technique. There is also provided an integrated-optic receiver for generating a quantum cryptographic key from light pulses received from a further optical apparatus. The transmitter apparatus splits incoming light into two paths to temporally separate the split light pulses and controls the output intensity of each split pulse as well as the phase of at least one of the split pulses. The receiver apparatus receives first and second light pulses and controls the output intensity of each said pulse between a first and a second optical detector. The light input into the second detector passes through an integrated element that controls the amount of light output into two paths that recombine before at least a portion is output to the second detector. 
IP Reference WO2016142701 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2016
Licensed No
Impact None to date
 
Title OPTICAL SOURCE 
Description An integrated optical device and method for generating photons by manipulating path entanglement is provided. An integrated optical splitter splits pump light between two interferometer arms wherein each arm comprises a substantially identical photon pair source configured to be able to convert at least one pump light photon into a signal and idler photon pair. An integrated optical combiner device in optical communication with a first and a second optical output path interferes light from the first and second arms and outputs the signal and idler photons by bunching the signal and idler photons together in one of the optical output paths, or anti-bunching the signal photon in one output path and the corresponding idler photon in the other optical output path. 
IP Reference US9235101 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2016
Licensed Commercial In Confidence
Impact n/a
 
Title Orbital Angular Momentum 
Description The invention relates to methods, devices, systems and uses of such systems for the generation and detection of electromagnetic fields carrying orbital angular momentum. An electromagnetic wave placed in a resonator having a closed-loop waveguide supporting a guided wave propagating at resonance with angular order, p, and with an angular grating patterned in the closed-loop waveguide, the angular grating having a integer number, q, of grating elements. 
IP Reference US9103975 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2015
Licensed Commercial In Confidence
Impact n/a
 
Title Spectroscopy apparatus and method 
Description There is presented a spectroscopic apparatus and method wherein an input light source that inputs pump light to a photon pair source. The photon pair source converts pump photons into signal and idler photon pairs. The photon pair source is, in some of examples described herein, tuneable so that the wavelength of the signal and idler photons can be changed by application of a tuning means. At least one of the signal and idler photons is made incident upon a medium under test. A heralding detection apparatus is used to detect any signal and idler photons output from the spectroscopy apparatus, wherein at least one of the photons of the pair has interacted with or been operated upon by the medium under test. 
IP Reference US 20160041032 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2014
Licensed No
Impact None
 
Description 16 June to 17 June McKinsey T-30 summit 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Convenes top leaders of the semiconductor industry and its related ecosystem to discuss topical issues impacting the industry
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://apps.mckinsey.com/t30/
 
Description 6 December Opening of the Winton Gallery at the Science Museum (London) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Science Museum in London unveiled its new mathematics gallery, as part of the display a QETLabs chip will be on display next to the Enigma Machine.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/about-us/press/june-2016/new-mathematics-gallery
 
Description Bristol Quantum Information Technologies Workshop 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact BQIT began in 2014 as a DSTL funded workshop for roadmapping future quantum technologies. It has since progressed into a full annual event to discuss the world of QT and the research developments in that area.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016
URL http://www.bristol.ac.uk/physics/research/quantum/conferences/bqit-16/
 
Description Bristol Quantum Information Technologies Workshop 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact BQIT is a three day annual workshop aimed at enabling leading UK and international academics and industrial partners to come together; to explore and discuss future ambitions and challenges in the field of Quantum Information Technologies. Since conception in 2014 BQIT has had 162 speakers and panellists who have presented their work and opinions on a range of topics, from quantum theory to innovation in industry.

My talk was titled "Silicon Photonic Quantum Technologies".
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.bristol.ac.uk/physics/research/quantum/conferences/bqit-workshop/
 
Description Cheltenham Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The team hosted a demonstration in the Discovery Zone at the Cheltenham Science Festival, in collaboration with the NQIT Hub in Oxford.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016
URL http://www.bristol.ac.uk/physics/news/2016/qet-chetsci.html
 
Description IEEE Optical MEMS and Nanophotonics Annual Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The 2016 International Conference on Optical MEMS and Nanophotonics (OMN2016) covered the most recent advances emerging from the extensive research and development in optical MEMS and nanophotonics that is continuing at academic, government and industrial laboratories worldwide. The conference will cover the latest advances in fundamental and applied research on micro-optical and nanophotonic devices and systems; the latest advances in materials and process technologies relevant to optical MEMS and nanophotonics; and the latest advances in the applications of optical MEMS and nanophotonic devices and systems.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016
URL http://www.omn2016.org/
 
Description New Scientist University - The quantum world 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Presented talk on the quantum world to the general public as part of the New Scientist Instant expert university.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.newscientist.com/round-up/quantumworldlive/
 
Description QCrypt 2015: 5th International Conference on Quantum Cryptography, held in Tokyo Japan, Sept. 28 -Oct. 2, 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The annual conference on quantum cryptography (QCrypt) is a conference for students and researchers working on all aspects of quantum cryptography. The main goals of the conference were to represent the previous year's best results and to support the building of a research community in quantum cryptography.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://2015.qcrypt.net/
 
Description QET Labs Quantum Techology: Today and Tomorrow November 2016 (Bristol) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The Quantum Engineering Technology Labs(QETLabs) at the University of Bristol invited delegates to a unique one free day event on Wednesday 23rd November 2016 to explore the potential impact and opportunities brought by the development of Quantum Technologies.
The day focused around the potential impact and opportunities created by Quantum Technologies in business and incorporated:

Talks from Gooch & Housego, Airbus and Keysight Technologies
Hands on Quantum Technologies demonstrations
Facilitated discussions about how Quantum Technologies fit in to a future industrial technology landscape
Opportunities to talk to experts about the applications of Quantum Technologies in your business

This event was aimed at those with an interest in bringing quantum technologies into their business, working with existing companies and academic research groups to develop underpinning and associated technologies and applications.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.bristol.ac.uk/physics/research/quantum/conferences/qid/
 
Description Quantum UK 2015: The Science and Innovation Conference of the UK Quantum Technology Hubs 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Quantum UK 2015: The Science and Innovation Conference of the UK Quantum Technology Hubs. The conference was held at St. John's College, Oxford, from 28th-30th September. It heard the latest developments from all 4 of the UK Q. Tech. Hubs, focused on quantum enhanced imaging, sensing, communications and computing. Also included were reports from the global Q. Tech. community: confirmed speakers include Chris Monroe and Bill Phillips (JQI, Maryland); Ron Hanson (QuTech, Delft); Gerard Milburn (EQUUS, Brisbane).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://quantiki.org/conference/quantum-uk-2015-science-and-innovation-conference-uk-quantum-technol...
 
Description Quantum in the Summer (summer school) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 'Quantum in the Summer' began last year as a celebration of the International Year of Light and it covers a range of topics from optics and photonics to quantum information. The summer school brought together fourteen students aged 16 - 22 from the UK and Europe to learn more about physics and engineering with the hope that it will inspire a future generation of students to pursue a career in science.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.bristol.ac.uk/physics/research/quantum/engagement/qsummer/
 
Description Quantum in the Summer 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact In the summer of 2016 QET Labs held their second annual summer school, Quantum in the Summer, for students aged 16 and over. The intensive week-long summer school runs for one week and celebrates light in all its forms.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016
URL http://www.bristol.ac.uk/physics/research/quantum/engagement/qsummer/