29 October 2018 ICFO coordinates Quantum Flagship Project 2D- SIPC

The Quantum Flagship project 2D·SIPC aims to develop 2-D material on-chip quantum components for their scalable and successful integration

Project aims to develop quantum devices that can be easily integrated in existing current silicon-based technologies.

Two-dimensional materials have been in the spotlight since the discovery of the technique for the exfoliation of graphene in 2004, an advance recognized with the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010. Graphene has enabled a wide range of applications within the optoelectronics world through the development of novel devices using the family of 2-D materials, materials that are only one-atom thick which, to date, number over 20 varieties and demonstrate a wide range of different properties.

Because of their diverse properties, scientists have discovered that by stacking these one-atom layered materials into a sandwich configuration, the assembled device is able to offer an amazingly broad range of optical properties, extending from ultra-sensitive light reflectors and transmitters to absorbers, depending mainly on the way they are stacked. In addition, these materials have proven to be ideal for the miniaturization of electronic-based circuits, overcoming the physical limitations of existing technologies. They are now showing unique potential for their further integration into quantum photonic circuits, with single photon emission and detection at the heart of this technology’s success.

In parallel to the discovery of this new family of materials, the scalable integration of quantum devices into integrated quantum networks has proven challenging due to the incompatibility of materials, growth processes, miniaturization, as well as integration of various quantum components on existing mature Si, SiN and CMOS platforms, key ingredients in current technologies.

The new Quantum Flagship project 2D·SIPC aims to present a solution for these issues by developing 2-D material on-chip quantum components (single photon emitters, single photon detectors, photonic switches) for their scalable and successful integration into integrated quantum networks used in quantum computing, communications, sensing and metrology, among other fields.

Selected as one of the 20 projects that will kick-off the Quantum Flagship, an ambitious 1b€ initiative supported by the European Commission for the next 10 years, 2D·SIPC has set an ambitious goal of developing devices capable of creating, processing, storing, routing and detecting single photons. During its 3-year lifetime, 2D·SIPC will span different research fields ranging from experimental and theoretical condensed matter physics, to photonics, as well as quantum optics and advanced photo-detection applications.

The project will rely on a unique combination of experts to pave the way to unprecedented possibilities in quantum integrated photonics. In particular, renowned consortium members of academia and industry who have shown to be worldwide experts in their respective scientific and technological fields will each focus on a particular field:

  • ICFO: single photon detection and nano-imaging.
  • University of Manchester: theory and fabrication processes of 2-D materials and stacking techniques for the heterostructures
  • University of Cambridge: quantum optics and spectroscopy
  • CNIT: on on-chip photonic circuits
  • Single Quantum (SQ): commercial single photon detection, single photon emission and packaging.

As ICFO Prof. Dmitri Efetov, coordinator of the project, comments “I am thrilled that our project 2D-SIPC has been accepted by the EU from so many proposals. 2D materials, such as graphene, are not the most obvious materials for quantum applications, however recent progress in the creation of single photon emitters and detectors, paired with ease of integration onto photonic chips, open up entirely new, disruptive possibilities for the build-up of scalable quantum networks, a key milestone in the development of the quantum internet. This basic science project will allow us to push the boundaries of this approach and I am looking forward to seeing breakthrough applications develop from our efforts.“