In a pioneering experiment, a research team in Lund has
succeeded in constructing a new and very efficient microwave photon detector.
The discovery could accelerate the development of quantum computers.
Microwave photons are commonly
used in quantum technology, for example to manipulate and read out qubits in
superconducting quantum computers.
“For communication between the
parts of a quantum computer to be possible, you have to be able to detect
individual microwave photons very efficiently,” says Peter Samuelsson,
theoretical physicist at Lund University.
While there are many detectors
available for optical photons, detectors for microwave photons are way more
difficult to accomplish due to the much lower energy of microwave photons. But
now, a team of WACQT researchers at Lund University, led by Ville Maisi and
Peter Samuelsson, has succeeded in creating an efficient and continuous
microwave photon detector, based on a semiconducting nanowire with a
high-quality double quantum dot coupled to a cavity.
“This setup allows us to
continuously detect microwave photons by converting them into a measurable flow
of electrons. This means that the detector can be left on, it doesn’t need to
know when the photon will arrive, which is often required in currently
available detectors,” says Ville Maisi.
Now the team is working on
further improving the efficiency of the detector – the goal is to be able to
detect every individual microwave photon as a ‘click’.
The results have been published
in Nature Communications. Also read more in a news article at the Lund University website.