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On-chip frequency shifters in the gigahertz range could be used in next generation quantum computers and networks

By IQT News posted 25 Nov 2021

(Phys.org) The ability to precisely control and change properties of a photon, gave rise to a wide range of communication technologies we use today, including the Internet. The next generation of photonic technologies, such as photonic quantum networks and computers, will require even more control over the properties of a photon.
One of the hardest properties to change is a photon’s color, otherwise known as its frequency, because changing the frequency of a photon means changing its energy.
Now, researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed highly efficient, on-chip frequency shifters that can convert light in the gigahertz frequency range. The frequency shifters are easily controlled, using continuous and single-tone microwaves.
“Our frequency shifters could become a fundamental building block for high-speed, large-scale classical communication systems as well as emerging photonic quantum computers,” said Marko Lončar, the Tiantsai Lin Professor of Electrical Engineering and senior author of the paper published in Nature.
The paper outlines two types of on-chip frequency shifter—one that can covert one color to another, using a shift of a few dozen gigahertz, and another that can cascade multiple shifts, a shift of more than 100 gigahertz.
“This work is made possible by all of our previous developments in integrated lithium niobate photonics,” said Lončar. “The ability to process information in the frequency domain in an efficient, compact, and scalable fashion has the potential to significantly reduce the expense and resource requirements for large-scale photonic circuits, including quantum computing, telecommunications, radar, optical signal processing and spectroscopy.”

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