(Photonics.com) University of Copenhagen researchers have developed a nanocomponent, called a nanomechanical router, that emits quantum information carried by photons and routes the photons in different directions inside a photonic chip. The microscopic-size component could provide a way to scale up quantum technology. The work merges two research disciplines — nano-optomechanics and quantum optics — to develop an approach to photon routing that can be implemented for many material systems, wavelengths, and temperatures, including for active photonic chips containing quantum emitters.
The router is based on two coupled waveguides whose distance is adjusted on demand by an external voltage. The researchers showed controllable two-port routing of single photons emitted from quantum dots embedded in the same chip. They observed a maximum splitting ratio >23 decibels (dB), a low insertion loss of 0.67 dB, and a response time below 1 microsecond (μs).