Single Photon Emitters; Now on Silicon. “Scientists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) have developed a way to directly write quantum light sources, which emit a single photon of light at a time, into monolayer semiconductors such as tungsten diselenide (WSe2). Single photon emitters (SPEs), or quantum emitters, are key components in a wide range of nascent quantum-based technologies, including computing, secure communications, sensing and metrology.”
These SPEs hold key requirements for emerging applications: Energetic, spectrally stable, and produce high rates of single photons.
“(a) Illustration showing an atomic force microscope (AFM) tip indenting the transition-metal dichalcogenide/polymer structure to introduce local strain. (b) Patterned single photon emission in tungsten diselenide (WSe2) induced by AFM indentation of the letters “NRL” and “AFRL”. (c) AFM indents produce single photon emitter “ornaments” on a monolayer WSe2 “Christmas tree.” (Image Courtesy Photo Daniel Parry/NRL)”
Photons are simple enough to create en masse. Conventional light emitting diodes emit billions of photons simultaneously. A properly formed SPE generates exactly one photon on demand. Each photon produced is unique, virtually indistinguishable from all others.
An added benefit to this unique yet repeatable set of characteristics, is scalabilitty. The SPEs are readily and fully scalable; compatible with existing semiconductor chip manufacturing.