Quantum communication networks are formed of secure links, where information can be transmitted with security guaranteed by the quantum nature of light. An essential building block of such a network is a source of single photons and entangled photon pairs, compatible with the low-loss fibre telecom window around 1550 nm. Previous work based on semiconductor quantum dots (QDs), colour centres in diamond and single atoms has been limited by emission wavelengths unsuitable for long distance applications. Efforts have been made to use standard gallium arsenide based QDs by extending their operating wavelength range, however, electrically driven quantum light emission from quantum dots in this telecommunication window has not yet been demonstrated.
In this work, indium phosphide based QD devices have been developed to address this problem. The industry favoured growth method, metalorganic vapour phase epitaxy (MOVPE), has been used to create droplet QDs with low fine structure splitting (FSS). This growth scheme allows us to produce the first optoelectronic devices for single and entangled photon emission in the 1550 nm telecom window. We show single-photon emission with multi-photon events suppressed to 0.11±0.02. Furthermore, we obtain entangled light from the biexciton cascade with a maximum fidelity of 0.87± 0.04 which is sufficient for error correction protocols. We also show extended device operating temperature up to 93 K, allowing operation with liquid nitrogen or simple closed-cycle coolers. Our device can be directly integrated with existing long distance quantum communication, cryptography and quantum relay systems providing a new platform for developing quantum networks.
Quantum dots based on InAs/InP hold the promise to deliver entangled photons with wavelength suitable for the standard telecom window around 1550 nm, which makes them predestined to be used in future quantum networks applications based on existing fiber optics infrastructure. A prerequisite for the generation of such entangled photons is a small fine structure splitting (FSS) in the quantum dot excitonic eigenstates, as well as the ability to integrate the dot into photonic structures to enhance and direct its emission. Using optical spectroscopy, we show that a growth strategy based on droplet epitaxy can simultaneously address both issues.
Contrary to the standard Stranski-Krastanow technique, droplet epitaxy dots do not rely on material strains during growth, which results in a drastic improvement in dot symmetry. As a consequence, the average exciton FSS is reduced by more than a factor 4, which in fact makes all the difference between easily finding a dot with the required FSS and not finding one at all. Furthermore, we demonstrate that droplet epitaxy dots can be grown on the necessary surface (001) for high quality optical microcavities, which increases dot emission count rates by more than a factor of five. Together, these properties make droplet epitaxy quantum dots readily suitable for the generation of entangled photons at telecom wavelengths.