Australian universities create ‘photons on demand’ optical chip

Research conducted at the University of Sydney has delivered photonic chips that slow down light, creating the ability to produce a single photon of light with increased reliability, which allows for more scalable and smaller optical hardware.

The research is published in the Nature Communications journal, with the team responsible made up of members from Macquarie University, the University of St Andrews, the University of York, and the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Ultrahigh Bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS) based at the University of Sydney, as well as the Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO).

It is easy for us to generate photons at high rates, but it’s much harder to ensure they come out one by one, because photons are gregarious by nature and love to bunch together, said lead author of the research article Matthew Collins, a PhD student at CUDOS.

For that reason, the quantum science community has been waiting over a decade for a compact optical chip that delivers exactly one photon at a time at very high rates — via

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