Scientists have created artificial atoms that generate single photons, in advance that may be a big step in the development of all-optical quantum computing.  The artificial atoms – which work in air and at room temperature – were created by drilling holes in a thin two-dimensional sheet of hexagonal boron nitride with a galliu m-focused ion beam.
"Our work provides a source of single photons that could act as carriers of quantum information or as qubits." Benjamin J Aleman, from the University of Oregon in the US.
"We'd like to pattern these two photons emitters into circuits or [A1]. Aleman.
The invention relates to two hexagonal boron nitride flakes of 2D hexagonal atoms,
Researchers are using the discovery to produce and use photons as sources of single photons and qubits in quantum photonic circuits.
Traditional approaches for using atoms in quantum research have focused on capturing atoms, and how they exhibit quantum superposition, or the ability to do so in a simultaneous combination of "off" and on "states."
However, the object of the invention is to be found in the vicinity of an edge.
Motivated by the observation of artificial atoms are often found near the edge
The devices were then annealed in oxygen at 850 degrees Celsius to remove carbon and other residual material and to activate the emitters.
Confocal microscopy revealed tiny spots of light coming from the drilled regions. Zooming in, Aleman's team saw the individual bright spots at the lowest possible level – a single photon at a time.
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The individual photons conceivably could be used as tiny, ultra-sensitive thermometers, in quantum key distribution, or to transfer, store and process quantum information, according to
"The big breakthrough is that we've discovered a simple, scalable way to nanofabricate artificial atoms on a microchip, and that the artificial atoms work in air and at room temperature," Aleman said.
"Our artificial atoms want to make lots of new and powerful technologies. In the future, they could be used for safer, more secure, more private communications, and much more powerful computers that could be used to gain a deeper understanding of the quantum computation, "he said.