Researchers at European technology consortium Graphene Flagship have successfully created an all-electrical quantum light emitting diode (LED) with single-photon emission constructed of atomically thin layers of graphene, boron nitride, and transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs). These quantum LEDs could be used in a wide range of photonics applications for quantum information and communications.
Devices that emit single photons at once typically rely on optical excitation using lasers mounted in large-scale optical set-ups, and require precise alignment of optical components. Only a few have been designed to work using only electrical current to achieve single-photon emission, a key requirement for integrated quantum optoelectronics.
“Ultimately, in a scalable circuit, we need fully integrated devices that we can control by electrical impulses, instead of a laser that focuses on different segments of an integrated circuit. For quantum communication with single photons, and quantum networks between different nodes – for example, to couple qubits – we want to be able to just drive current, and get light out. There are many emitters that are optically excitable, but only a handful are electrically driven,” said Professor Mete Atatüre (Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, UK), co-author of the research study published in Nature Communications, in a news release.