Plasmonic Metamaterials for Single Photon Sources and Quantum Technology

Lead Research Organisation: University of Exeter
Department Name: Engineering Computer Science and Maths


Photons are vital for quantum technologies, they provide the most robust method of communicating a quantum state, and form the backbone of applications from quantum cryptography to quantum information processing [1]. In this project we will explore the use of plasmonic metamaterials to control and manipulate photons for quantum technology. Our primary focus will be the efficient production and directional control of single photons and we will make use of defect centres in 2D atomic materials such as hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) [2]. Atomic-scale defects in hBN have many ideal characteristics as single photon sources, including: room temperature operation; a radiative lifetime of a few nanoseconds, ideal for quantum optics applications; operation in the visible (red) part of the spectrum; and a narrow linewidth (few meV). In common with other single photon sources, one key missing ingredient is control over the direction of the emitted photons - useful sources of single photons need to ensure a very high proportion of photons are collected and harnessed.

In this project we will investigate the use of plasmonic metamaterials for single photon sources. These will take the form of micro- and nano-structured metallic (and other metal-like materials) elements. The purpose of these antennas is three-fold; (1) to decrease the radiative lifetime and increase the photon generation rate; (2) to allow the efficient excitation with pulses of green light; and (3) to allow efficient extraction and collection of the emitted photons. A variety of different elements will be explored, including hyperbolic metamaterials and structured nano-antennas.

[1] J. L. O'Brien, A. Furusawa, and J. Vuckovic, Nat. Photonics 3, 687 (2009).
[2] T. T. Tran et al., Nat. Nanotechnol. 11, 37 (2015).


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R512254/1 30/09/2017 31/12/2022
1917891 Studentship EP/R512254/1 30/09/2017 01/08/2022 Simon Baber