Oxford Instruments are at the forefront of enabling future quantum communications infrastructure. Our technologies provide solutions to a wide range of challenges in this rapidly evolving market and are critical to the development of a future quantum internet. These include:
- Robust, high quality, scalable fabrication of integrated photonic components
- World-leading cameras for detection of single-photon and quantum entanglement
- Cryo-free and flow cryostats for R&D on novel quantum communication and memory
Today’s datacom infrastructure cloud can become vulnerable to attack by future quantum computers. Furthermore, anything communicated today may be stored and accessed in the future by a hacker armed with a quantum computer. Quantum communications encompasses new methods of securing our digital information. Miniaturisation of components, systems integration and reduction in power consumption plays a critical role when designing photonic architectures impacting in quantum technologies.
Quantum communications relies on enabling components such as quantum random number generators, quantum repeaters etc. To ensure true randomness, seed numbers and algorithms can be replaced by a quantum physical process. InP lasers and InGaAs avalanche photodiodes are used to generate and detect random photon streams. Telecoms and financial services organisations have established programs for disaster recovery and secure communications in place today using quantum key distribution.
Detection of Single Photons and Quantum Entanglement
Our iXon Ultra EMCCD imaging cameras are used to superb effect in systems where spatially correlated photons, incident on an imaging array, need to be detected with superb levels of discrimination and confidence, ultimately yielding accelerated measurement throughout.
- Arrays up to 1 Megapixel : Massively parallel detection of quantum correlations, yielding huge efficiency gains.
- Detect > 90% of single photons: Single-photon sensitivity and > 90% QE means the vast majority of incident photon events will be detected and registered.
- Discriminate correlated photons: Low spurious noise combined with -100 °C sensor cooling means false positives are minimized, significantly enhancing the statistics of detection.
- High counting rates: More than 50 fps (100’s fps with sub-regions) for enhanced counting rates and higher measurement rates.
- Bi-photons detection: Superb charge transfer efficiency offers confident discrimination of bi-photons in adjacent pixels.
- High QE > 700nm: Superb sensitivity into the NIR range enables optional use of photon wavelengths that are spectrally separate from residual fluorescence of optics.
Fabrication of Integrated Photonics Devices for Quantum Communication
Oxford Instruments offers plasma-enhanced deposition and etching solutions for integrated Quantum photonics device fabrication. Our solutions are tailored to enable both cutting-edge device development, as well as scaling up to reliable, high throughput fabrication up to 200mm wafers.
Three key applications for photonic integrated circuits for quantum are available:
- Atomic layer deposition of superconducting nitrides
Thin films of superconducting NbN deposited by plasma ALD using bias for applications as superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors (SNSPDs)
- High temperature, SiH4 and NH3-free PE (ICP) CVD of Si3N4 for low-loss waveguides
One of the greatest challenges with Si3N4 deposition for applications in waveguides is the in-film hydrogen content, typically coming from the precursors and leading to optical losses. Therefore, we've developed a high-temperature PECVD process which shows a low concentration of hydrogen and enables enhanced stress control as well as a higher deposition rate, These make high-temperature PECVD of Si3N4 particularly suited for the fabrication of low-loss optical components.
- Plasma etching for optical components (e.g. gratings, waveguides)
We propose a range of cryogenic etch processes to fabricate optical components such as gratings, ring resonators, optical filters, delay lines and waveguides, made from Si/Si3N4. These are key building blocks of a Quantum Computer, enabling light coupling into the chip, photon manipulation and transport down to single-photon detectors.
Cryostats with optical access for low temperature measurements
Sources of single photons on demand form critical components to enable quantum communication protocols like QKD, PQC as well as to enable coherent sources of photons for quantum repeaters, for example. To maximise the expected secure key and the communication distance for quantum key distribution, and to enable robust high throughput detection of incoming photons, new device and protocols need to be developed which require integration of the detector devices on low-temperature optical cryostats. Oxford Instruments provide flexible cryogenic solutions with several optical access, measurement and cooling options.
- The bottom-loading OptistatDry BLV for spectroscopy consists of a compact cryostat with optical access, cooled by a closed-cycle refrigerator. This cryogen-free cryostat is capable of cooling samples to helium temperatures without the need for liquid cryogens. This provides significant benefits in terms of ease-of-use and running costs and enables optical and electrical measurements to be carried out on your samples. It is also very easy to use with the help of our patent-pending sample holders, windows, and wiring options.
- SpectromagPT is a split-pair, horizontal field magneto-optical Cryofree superconducting magnet system. It provides optical access to a sample in a variable magnetic field and low-temperature environment.
- Oxford Instruments also offer a wide range of flow cryostats for R&D
Plasma Technology & NanoScience
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