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March 22, 2021

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Hub funds project to develop prototype single-photon source

A collaborative project which aims to create a prototype single-photon source for integration within high performance photonic devices has been awarded Partnership Resource funding by the Quantum Communications Hub.

The project will be led by researchers at the University of Exeter who will collaborate with leading quantum photonics start-up AegiQ.

Single-photon sources are an enabling component technology for applications including unbreakable cryptography, precision metrology and quantum information processing. However, the design requirements for commercially practical devices are extensive and include on-demand  operation, high-brightness, low-cost and scalability.

The aim of this project is to develop single-photon sources that can operate at room temperature and are based on the two-dimensional semiconductor hexagonal boron nitride (hBN). This particular material provides an edge over others as it opens up the possibility for high quality heterostructure devices, and a route to the integration within high performance photonic devices. The project will develop a high-efficiency, high-repetition rate, single-photon source prototype, through the integration of hBN with silicon nitride based nanophotonics.

The project will benefit from a close collaboration with industrial partner AegiQ, a spin-out company from the University of Sheffield which is focused on developing quantum photonic technologies for quantum cryptography, quantum information processing and quantum imaging, using its single-photon sources and systems. During the project, AegiQ will contribute to the fabrication of the prototype and carry out the performance testing of the device.

Lead investigator Dr Isaac Luxmoore said:

“I am very grateful to the Quantum Communication Hub for funding this project, which gives us the opportunity to push this research towards real-world applications. It is an excellent opportunity to work closely with AegiQ and to benefit from the wider expertise and network of the Quantum Communications Hub.”

Maksym Sich, CEO of AegiQ added:

“We are very much looking forward towards working with Dr Luxmoore on the project. Whilst being an exciting research subject on its own, the project is well aligned with our interests. It’s exciting to be able to help develop the quantum technology ecosystem, and we are always open to opportunities.”

This project is closely aligned to the Hub’s work to develop integrated high-efficiency single-photon sources for use in quantum secured communications, particularly in the areas of handheld and wireless secure communications.

The Hub will be holding a third round of Partnership Resource funding in Spring 2021. Examples of the projects previously funded can be found on the Partnership Resource page of the Hub website where an announcement of the opening of the third round the fund will also be made.