Boubacar Kanté and EECS researchers develop all-silicon quantum light source

Photo of Professor Boubacar Kanté

A team of researchers led by Professor Boubacar Kanté has demonstrated the first on-demand quantum light source using silicon, an advancement towards creating photons in ways that would reliably feed quantum networks, or a quantum internet. “The possibility to use silicon as a source of quantum light signifies that current large-scale Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) chip manufacturing processes at the core of today’s optoelectronics and artificial intelligence (AI) devices may be directly used for future quantum systems,” Kanté said. He elaborated further: “In this work, we successfully embedded for the first time an atomic defect in silicon the size of atoms (1 angstrom) in a silicon photonic cavity (1 micron) with the size of less than one-tenth of a human hair. The cavity forces the atom to be brighter, and it emits photons at a faster rate. Those are necessary ingredients for scalable quantum light sources for the future [quantum] internet.” This research was published in Nature Communications on June 7th, 2023. The study was led by post-doctoral scholars Walid Redjem and Wayesh Qarony, and Yertay Zhiyenbayev, a third-year Ph.D. student in Kanté’s group. Other co-authors include Schenkel, Vsevolod Ivanov, Christos Papapanos, Wei Liu, Kaushalya Jhuria, Zakaria Al Balushi, Scott Dhuey, Adam Schwartzberg and Liang Tan. The National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy provided the primary support for the study. Additional funding came from the Office of Naval Research, the Moore Inventor Fellows program and UC Berkeley’s Bakar Fellowship.