(ScienceX) Paderborn University hope to overcome a major hurdle to Optical quantum networks through their research project known as “Qinos” (quantum components—integrated, optical, scalable), using thin layers of lithium niobate.
To date, one challenge in realizing these networks has been the need to connect many different components within a large system. The Paderborn’s goal is to develop a simple integrated quantum network that will demonstrate the basic functionalities of large networks. The project will receive about 1.9 million euros in funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for two years, beginning in September.
When it comes to quantum applications, thin-film of lithium niobate (Lithium niobate-on-insulator (LNOI)) is a promising candidate: “It allows functionalities that could not previously be realized, like fast electro-optical switches and highly efficient photon pair sources. Photons are small light particles that produce electromagnetic radiation,” explains Dr. Christof Eigner, who works for Leibniz Award winner Prof. Christine Silberhorn as Project Manager in the Integrated Quantum Optics Group. The scientists are using the material to develop an innovative, scalable way to connect a large number of functional elements to one another.
The physicists are developing a network that combines an integrated photon pair source with an integrated wavelength-selective beam splitter. First, photons are created using laser light. Next, the pairs are split and made available for end use in different outputs. Eigner: “We are demonstrating the efficient generation of quantum light and routing, in other words essentially steering photons in a quantum network.”