Editorial Feature

AegiQ Develops World’s First Field-Deployable, High-Performance Quantum Light Source

AegiQ, a startup established in the UK, is working on products to facilitate the global adoption of quantum technology on a large scale.

quantum light source, aeqiQ

Image Credit: Dmitriy Rybin/Shutterstock.com

The study of quantum information makes use of the principles of quantum physics to improve the capacity for computing and communication. Future quantum devices will enable complicated operations and tasks that can be completed with traditional computers as well as fundamentally protect the transmission of encrypted data.

By being able to access the most complex aspects of matter, modern quantum technology is entering a new era. The world of computation is on the verge of being altered with the correct infrastructure and support. Quantum technology will provide guidance on everything from improving artificial intelligence and cyber security to completely individualized health. This potential has been recognized by Google, IBM, and Microsoft, who have made significant investments toward this endeavor.

AegiQ

AegiQ, a spin-out company composed of researchers from the University of Sheffield, is developing a central processing unit in a computer combining cutting-edge semiconductor technologies with the quantum nature of light. The basis for this technological advancement, The quantum bit, often known as a qubit, is the unit of quantum information. Unlike modern bits, which can only be either 0 or 1, a qubit can simultaneously be 0 and 1, and is thought to be existing in a superposition of the two.

The spin states of an electron, which can point up or down, a photon's polarization state, or the atomic nucleus's spin states can serve as a representation of the qubit one and zero.

The fundamental benefit of qubits over conventional bits is that a computational task can be accomplished in fewer steps reducing computation times.

Quantum Photonics Platform

AegiQ has adapted a photonic quantum platform to address qubits. Out of all the various physical systems, which are capable of serving as qubits, The benefit of photons is that, following a calculation, they can transmit the outcome at the speed of light, enabling quick and far-reaching communications and networking.

The novel photonic devices being developed at AegiQ combine several materials including Gallium, Arsenic, Aluminum, and Indium. These elements, sometimes known as III-V semiconductors, are especially well-suited for photon manipulation. They are processed in the National Centre for III-V Technologies' cutting-edge facilities.

The most straightforward photon-based quantum circuit needs three essential elements:

  • Single photon sources
  • Amplifier for the signal acquisition
  • Single photon counters.

Quantum dots are used to implement single photon sources at AegiQ. Quantum dots, which are nanostructures that mimic an atom, can hold both an electron and a hole. A photon is released when the electron enters the hole. It is possible to obtain trains of identical photons by systematically repeating this recombination procedure.

Two wires are used to implement a beam-splitter that splits and recombines photons together closely so they can interfere with one another. Utilizing the Hong-Ou-Mandel effect, first demonstrated in 1987  by three physicists from the University of Rochester,  numerous logical procedures can be carried out. The Hong-Ou-Mandel effect is a two-photon interference phenomenon in quantum optics.

These devices, such as the single photon counter made of superconducting nanowires, are extremely sensitive. Even a slight variation in the electric current triggered by the entry of a single photon can be detected by them.  This makes it possible to count the number of photons that enter the system from each beam-splitter arm and read out the outcome of the procedure.

Together, the single photon source, the amplifier, and the single photon detector form the nucleus of a scalable quantum platform for a light-based quantum chip. This photonic platform, which is comparable to a modern electronic circuit, gives exceptional computational opportunities. The photonic chip can also function as a node to safely transmit encrypted data over great distances.

Future Outlook

AegiQ’s photonic chip is positioned to make an impact on various sectors of quantum technology like photonic information processing, quantum communications, and high-sensitivity imaging.

AegiQ has benefited from the UK National Quantum Technology Programme, which is run by the government and is a major driving force behind the country's position as one of the world leaders in commercializing quantum technologies. Substantial funding for commercial development has been granted for further development of the photonic quantum platform. The project collaboration in cooperation with Fraunhofer CAP is expected to provide scalable applications in quantum computing and quantum communications.

High-performance computers for specialized tasks, secure communications, and ultra-sensitive photography will all undergo paradigm shifts thanks to technology. The ultimate objective of AegiQ is to become the cornerstone of the photon-based quantum technologies market, which will experience exponential growth over the next few years. All industries, from health to aerospace, will be impacted by Quantum 2.0 technologies in the future, and AegiQ expects to provide the enabling technology to accelerate that growth.

More from AZoOptics: The Use of Silicon in Optical Fibers and Optoelectronics

References and Further Reading

AegiQ. (19th December, 2019) Sheffield’s spin-out to build the quantum technology of the future. [Online] aegiq.com. Available at: https://www.aegiq.com/2019/12/19/sheffields-spin-out-to-build-the-quantum-technology-of-the-future/

Editorial Team. (14th September, 2022) Quantum photonics spin-out gets backing from Innovate UK to develop world’s first deployable quantum light source. [Online] techfundingnews.com/. Available at: https://techfundingnews.com/aegiq-developing-worlds-first-deployable-quantum-light-source-gets-backing-from-innovate-uk/

RealWire. (15th September, 2022) Aegiq kicks off development of the world’s first deployable quantum light source with the support of UK’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund scheme. [Online] realwire.com. Available at: https://www.realwire.com/releases/aegiq-kicks-off-development-of-the-worlds-first-deployable-quantum-light

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Written by

Ilamaran Sivarajah

Ilamaran Sivarajah is an experimental atomic/molecular/optical physicist by training who works at the interface of quantum technology and business development.

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