Photon pairs and heralded single photons are a useful resource in quantum communication, computation, and measurement. Room-temperature microchip-scale integrated devices could enable scalability, robustness and low-cost deployment in practical applications. Silicon is an attractive integration platform, since pair generation by spontaneous four-wave mixing at 1.2 - 1.6 micron wavelengths requires optical power levels that can be delivered by compact electrically-driven laser diodes. However, silicon photonics lacks a native laser device, and the propagation losses are not especially low, although they are somewhat lower than III-V integrated optics, which does have an integrated laser. Nevertheless, silicon photonics can be expected to become a widely-adopted platform for photonics – both classical and quantum – because of the ability to leverage the mature fabrication processes using large-area silicon wafers inherited from the development of microelectronics. Moreover, scalable quantum optics requires electronics for control, drivers and readout circuits, which silicon microelectronic technology can supply. Our research is improving the performance of silicon photonics components for quantum optical communications, and is increasing the level of integration in the quantum silicon photonics toolkit, using microelectronic components and electrically-driven hybrid silicon lasers.
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