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Leading scientists around the world reveal global outlook of integrated photonics for quantum technologies

Posted on: 30 May 2022

Leading scientists around the world reveal global outlook of integrated photonics for quantum technologies

A roadmap recently published in Nature Reviews Physics highlights the value of integrated photonics to quantum technologies and applications for the future.

Photonic quantum technologies have reached a number of important milestones in the last 20 years, leading up to the recent proof of quantum advantage and demonstrations of space-to-ground quantum communication. 

Platforms for realizing quantum technologies, such as integrated quantum photonics, have become key enabling technologies that are driving radical changes in all areas of quantum technology. 

Quantum technologies

In the case of classical photonics, chip- scale integration has become critical for scaling up and translating laboratory demonstrations to real-life technologies. The resulting, emerging multidisciplinary field of integrated quantum photonics has been critical to leverage the opportunities offered by quantum optics for practical developments in quantum communication, computation, simulations and sensing.

Through an extensive roadmap, a global team, consisting of quantum experts from Tyndall, University of Technology Sydney (Australia), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA), Stony Brook University (USA), Brookhaven National Laboratory (USA), Peking University (China), Austrian Institute of Technology (Austria), Sun Yat-sen University (China), University of Science and Technology of China (China), Tohoku University (Japan). University of Amsterdam, (Netherlands), QuSoft (Netherlands), Sapienza Università di Roma (Italy) and Paderborn University (Germany) are calling on national agency leaders for coordination and support of the integrated quantum photonics technologies (IPQTs) agenda. In addition, significant investment is required to address the following topics before progressing and commercialising devices:

  • The multiple challenges residing in the hybrid nature of integrated photonic platforms which require a variety of multiple materials, devices design and integration strategies;
  • The scalability challenge of quantum photonic integrated circuits (qPICs) which can leverage from the parallel developments in classical photonic integration;
  • The complex innovation cycle for integrated photonic quantum technologies. This requires investments to resolve specific technological challenges, the development of the necessary infrastructure and further structuring towards a mature ecosystem;
  • The increasing demand for scientists and engineers with substantial knowledge of both quantum mechanics and its technological applications.

Despite these challenges, efforts in IPQTs and qPICs are beginning to materialize worldwide as many countries have been heavily investing in strong quantum technology research programmes amounting to several billion euros.

Dr. Giorgos Fagas, one of the paper’s co-authors and Head of CMOS++ and EU Programmes at Tyndall, said, ‘We have recently launched the Quantum Computer Engineering Centre (QCEC) with the vision to realise the revolutionary potential of quantum science, connecting theory to engineering. QCEC’s mission is to lead a global open innovation hub for deep-tech quantum computer engineering, spanning materials to devices to systems and to grow globally competitive quantum engineering talent. QCEC is supported by a multimillion-euro investment that will see an additional 1,000 m2 of quantum research labs at Tyndall’s new facility.’

Regardless of the type of technology that will be used in commercial quantum devices, the underlying principles of quantum mechanics are the same and the team predict an increasing demand for scientists and engineers with substantial knowledge of both quantum mechanics and its technological applications. Investing in educating the next generation will contribute to pushing the scientific and technological frontiers.

Dr. Emanuele Pelucchi, the paper’s lead author and Head of Epitaxy and Physics of Nanostructures Group, said, ‘The current talent pool is insufficient to ensure quantum-ICT innovations and engineering solutions for quantum technologies, thereby posing a major bottleneck for quantum industry stakeholders. This deficit also inhibits the fundamental understanding and investigation of devices linked to new physics, such as topological and non-Hermitian physics, many-body phase transitions and dynamics. We need to produce many more graduates with the necessary skills and knowledge to drive the sector.’

The aim of the roadmap is to stimulate further cross- disciplinary research by mapping out uncharted territory, outlining the challenges of materials, devices and components associated with IPQTs and advocating for the need to develop necessary infrastructure. 

To learn more about the value that integrated photonics brings to quantum technologies and what applications may become possible in the future, read the roadmap here.