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A Single-photon Source and Quantum Computation with Surface Acoustic Waves

A current can be driven along a two-dimensional electron gas by a surface acoustic wave. When passed through a narrow channel, this current becomes quantised, as an integer number of electrons is transported in a quantum dot in each minimum of the wave. See here for more information on our work on a quantised current standard using surface acoustic waves.

Depleted 1d channel with dots SAW device
SAW potential along a depleted 1D channel SAW carries a quantised current I = nef (n is the number of electrons in each SAW minimum, f is the SAW frequency (~3 GHz))

We have proposed a solid-state quantum computer based on the transport of individual electrons in the minima of a surface acoustic wave in a narrow channel.

We aim to construct the building blocks of such a quantum computer:
  • a number of quantum dots travelling along adjacent channels;
  • electrostatic and magnetic gates to control and entangle spins.
Parallel channels with various processing elements
Two channels with tunnel barrier between them Scanning electron micrograph of two channels with a tunnel barrier between them
Two channels with tunnel barrier between them Scanning electron micrograph of two channels with a tunnel barrier between them

Each electron combines with a hole to give a polarised photon for read-out or as a single-photon source.

Much important physics can be discovered by learning to manipulate qubits.

PhD Projects are available to investigate many different aspects of this work.

A printable (PDF) description of this project is available here (870kB).

For more information, please contact Prof Chris Ford or Prof Crispin Barnes.