Single-photon emitter has promise for quantum info-processing

July 31, 2017

LOS ALAMOS, N.M., July 31, 2017--Los Alamos National Laboratory has produced the first known material capable of single-photon emission at room temperature and at telecommunications wavelengths. These carbon nanotube quantum light emitters may be important for optically-based quantum information processing and information security, while also being of significant interest for ultrasensitive sensing, metrology and imaging needs and as photon sources for fundamental advances in quantum optics studies. The research was reported today in the journal Nature Photonics.

"By chemically modifying the nanotube surface to controllably introduce light-emitting defects, we have developed carbon nanotubes as a single photon source, working toward implementing defect-state quantum emitters operating at room temperature and demonstrating their function in technologically useful wavelengths," said Stephen Doorn, leader of the project at Los Alamos and a member of the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT). "Ideally, a single photon emitter will provide both room-temperature operation and emission at telecom wavelengths, but this has remained an elusive goal. Up to now, materials that could act as single photon emitters in these wavelengths had to be cooled to liquid helium temperatures, rendering them much less useful for ultimate applications or scientific purposes," he said.

A critical breakthrough in the CINT nanotube work was the ability of the team to force the nanotube to emit light from a single point along the tube, only at a defect site. The key was to limit defect levels to one per tube. One tube, one defect, one photon. . . . By emitting light only one photon at a time, one can then control the photons' quantum properties for storage, manipulation and transmission of information.

The CINT researchers were able to attain this degree of control using diazonium-based chemistry, a process they used to bind an organic molecule to the nanotube's surface to serve as the defect. The diazonium reaction chemistry allowed a controllable introduction of benzene-based defects with reduced sensitivity to natural fluctuations in the surrounding environment. Importantly, the versatility of the diazonium chemistry also permitted the researchers to access the inherent tunability of nanotube emission wavelengths.

The wavelengths (or color) of the photons produced in most other approaches had been too short for telecommunications applications, where photons need to be efficiently manipulated and transported within optical circuits. The team found that by choosing a nanotube of appropriate diameter, the single photon emission could be tuned to the essential telecom wavelength region.

The functionalized carbon nanotubes have significant prospects for further development, Doorn noted, including advances in functionalization chemistry; integration into photonic, plasmonic and metamaterials structures for further control of quantum emission properties; and implementation into electrically driven devices and optical circuitry for diverse applications.
-end-
Publication: "Tunable Room-Temperature Single-Photon Emission at Telecom Wavelengths from sp3 Defects in Carbon Nanotubes," Nature Photonics (2017), available online at DOI: 10.1038/nphoton.2017.119. Researchers include Xiaowei He, Nicolai F. Hartmann, Xuedan Ma, Younghee Kim, Han Htoon and Stephen K. Doorn (Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies); Rachelle Ihly and Jeffrey L. Blackburn (National Renewable Energy Laboratory); Weilu Gao and Junichiro Kono (Rice University) and Yohei Yomogida, Atsushi Hirano, Takeshi Tanaka and Hiromichi Kataura (AIST, Japan).

Funding: This research was funded in part by the Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program and performed in part at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies, a DOE Office of Science User Facility.

About Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, a team composed of Bechtel National, the University of California, BWX Technologies, Inc. and URS Corporation for the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.

Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health and global security concerns.

DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory

Related Nanotube Articles from Brightsurf:

Scientists grow carbon nanotube forest much longer than any other
Carbon nanotube (CNT) forests are a solution to scaling up the production of CNTs, which are becoming a staple in many industries.

No limit yet for carbon nanotube fibers
Rice University researchers report advances in their quest to make the best carbon nanotube fibers for industry.

Graphene substrate improves the conductivity of carbon nanotube network
Scientists at Aalto University, Finland, and the University of Vienna, Austria, have combined graphene and single-walled carbon nanotubes into a transparent hybrid material with conductivity higher than either component exhibits separately.

Cooling nanotube resonators with electrons
In a study in Nature Physics, ICFO researchers report on a technique that uses electron transport to cool a nanomechanical resonator near the quantum regime.

Damaged hearts rewired with nanotube fibers
Thin, flexible fibers made of carbon nanotubes have now proven able to bridge damaged heart tissues and deliver the electrical signals needed to keep those hearts beating.

Oddball edge wins nanotube faceoff
A two-faced interface between growing carbon nanotubes and solid catalysts turns out to be more common than once believed, according to a theory developed at Rice University.

Antennas of flexible nanotube films an alternative for electronics
Metal-free antennas made of thin, strong, flexible carbon nanotube films are as efficient as common copper antennas, according to Rice University researchers.

Carbon nanotube nanoreactors to stabilize metastable structures
Some metastable structures have been predicted to have high potential applications due to their unique properties.

From 2D to 1D: Atomically quasi '1D' wires using a carbon nanotube template
Researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan University have used carbon nanotube templates to produce nanowires of transition metal monochalcogenide (TMM), which are only 3 atoms wide in diameter.

S, N co-doped carbon nanotube-encapsulated CoS2@Co
Researchers report cobalt disulphide encapsulated in self-catalyzed carbon nanotubes (S, N-CNTs/CoS2@Co) serving as a bifunctional catalyst, which exhibits excellent OER and HER performance, as well as strong stability at various current densities.

Read More: Nanotube News and Nanotube Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.