Inside Quantum Technology

Deterministic Entanglement Generation for Large-Scale Quantum Networking

Quantum networks are on the brink of transforming the way we transmit and handle information. Through the distribution of quantum entanglement across distant nodes, these networks provide an ironclad shield for data-in-transit against quantum computing and eavesdropping attacks. Furthermore, by connecting quantum computers modularly, quantum networks exponentially enhance the quantum processing power for drug discoveries and optimization algorithms. These groundbreaking potentials are sparking a surge of interest in quantum networks globally, as evidenced by the emergence of testbeds spanning China, Europe, and the United States. For a large-scale and operational quantum network, efficient and reliable quantum light generation, especially entangled photons, is a prerequisite. However, current commercial solutions rely on probabilistic processes to generate quantum entanglement, limiting the range of today’s quantum networks to about 100 miles. Icarus Quantum rises to this challenge by introducing a novel platform to generate entanglement deterministically, enabling even intercontinental quantum networking.
Icarus is developing an on-demand source of entangled photons based on semiconductor quantum dot technologies, in stark contrast to probabilistic solutions in the market.
The probabilistic entanglement sources work with a maximum of ~1% success rate in every attempt, which drastically plummets when multiple sources are interfaced with each other for a long-range and multi-node quantum network. Our technology can boost this efficiency to more than 50% without any fundamental upper bounds and limited only by nanofabrication imperfections. Our device will be the first deterministic commercial entanglement generator, and therefore, Icarus is well-positioned to become the leader of quantum sources in the quantum communications market. To battle photon loss, an entanglement generator must be placed in a fiber network approximately every 20 miles in quantum repeater stations, and therefore, Icarus’ devices will be the most critical piece of infrastructure for a large-scale quantum network.
The customers for our on-demand entanglement generator are developers of quantum networking testbeds (QNTs) across the world. These testbeds are being developed by multiple entities in the government and industry, such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), United States Air Force, Department of Energy (DoE), Cisco, J. P. Morgan, and Amazon. Icarus has been awarded three SBIR and STTR Phase I contracts from the Air Force, Space Force, and NASA, underscoring a strong need for their dual-use technology within the government sphere. After catering to our beachhead market of QNTs with our prototype, we will develop a compact and turnkey entanglement generator that will secure large-scale networks between data centers, financial institutions, and government agencies.
Icarus’ quantum dot technology has been perfected over the past 25 years in the Quantum Nanophotonics Group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and Icarus is the sole US-based quantum dot company commercializing these devices for quantum technologies. Our patent-pending design will integrate quantum dots with high-quality-factor optical cavities suitable for efficient single and entangled photon generation and collection into optical fiber. Icarus’ entanglement generator will be the only deterministic solution in the market, addressing the scalability issues of quantum networking. We have recently perfected our quantum dot growth process and are working towards nanofabrication of novel optical cavities and integrating them into our device to develop our prototype. Our efficient quantum dot- cavity system will be the leading solution for device-independent quantum communications protocols and scalable quantum networking.

Sponsored by Icarus Quantum.

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