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Quantum Communication: Each Photon Counts

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blue and red photons, illustration


Researchers say they have developed ultrafast, efficient, and reliable single-photon detectors. The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology's Wolfram Pernice and colleagues from Yale University, Boston University, and Moscow State Pedagogical University achieved the breakthrough, which they say makes the real use of the latest advances in optical data transmission or quantum computation possible.

Integrated with nanophotonic chips, the single-photon detector tested at a previously unattained detection efficiency of 91 percent with high timing resolution and a very low error rate. Direct installation on the chip means the detector could be replicated at random. The novel solution makes it possible to integrate several hundred detectors on a single chip, which means it could be used in optical quantum computers.

The team designed the detector to work at wavelengths in the Telekom bandwidth, but the same detector architecture also could be used for wavelengths in the range of visible light. The principle could be used to analyze all structures that emit little light or photons, such as single molecules or bacteria.

From Karlsruhe Institute of Technology 
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