Nanoscale sculpturing of single photons with dielectrics

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Dept of Physics


Current room-temperature photon sources are either too slow (ns) with respect to decoherence or too bulky (mm) for integration on quantum chips. Here, we propose a paradigm shift to overcome these limitations and develop new quantum light sources by exploiting sculptured electromagnetic modes in nano-dielectric architectures to boost light-matter interactions by many orders of magnitude, without the absorption, quenching and heating drawbacks of plasmonics. Our team encompasses expertise in nano-photonics, plasmonics, single molecule spectroscopy, and photonic local density of state mapping by cathodoluminescence spectroscopy, and is uniquely placed to address dielectric nanophotonics beyond the limitations of metallic nano-systems.

Our approach to light design in nanoscale structures is based on the manipulation of Mie resonances in dielectric nanoparticles. Nanodielectrics can nano-localise electromagnetic fields with no optical losses, control light fluorescence by exploiting co-localised electric and magnetic modes as well as their interference, and offer additional degrees of freedom for nonlinear conversion with unprecedented efficiency.

We aim to develop bright nanoscale quantum sources of single and pair photons through nanoscale dielectric antennas and cavities. We will develop the fundamental understanding of the working principles of nano dielectrics in terms of resonance tuning, spatial sculpturing of near fields, and the photonic density of states, and then we will utilise them for enhancement of single emitter fluorescence and nonlinear photon (pair) conversion.

Our ultimate goal is to obtain a bright source of individual and correlated photons at room temperature with sub-wavelength size suitable for integration on quantum circuits on chips. We envisage that nano-dielectrics can lead to practical nano-scale quantum optics, where plasmonics has failed to deliver mainly due to optical absorption, and reach the milestone of nanoscale photon pair generation which would revolutionise quantum optics, opening a real path to nanoscale engineering of quantum systems.


10 25 50
Description We have developed a method in order to strongly sculpt light fields on the sub-wavelength scale with dielectric nanoantennas. This could enable new forms of single-photon sources for quantum communications. Particular promise is the coupling of these antennas to low-dimensional materials.
Exploitation Route We are looking at industrial collaboration opportunities with Huawei.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)