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INRS innovates in quantum photonics

July 12, 2022 | Julie Robert

Update : July 12, 2022

Two INRS professors receive nearly $260,000 for their projects in quantum photonics.

Quantum Photonics

INRS receives nearly $260,000 for two projects in quantum photonics

Professors Roberto Morandotti and Emanuele Orgiu of the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications Research Centre are leading two research projects that have received $258,942 in funding from Photonique Quantique Québec (PQ2). This grant, which aims to advance innovation in quantum photonics, was announced on July 11 by Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy and Innovation and Minister Responsible for Regional Economic Development, as well as Sébastien Francoeur, director of PQ2 and professor at Polytechnique Montréal.

PQ2 is a collaborative initiative set up by Polytechnique Montréal with the support of the MEI and piloted in collaboration with INRS and four other universities: Laval, McGill, Montréal, and Sherbrooke. In total, nine transdisciplinary projects, including those directed by INRS, share grants totaling nearly $1.2 million.

Developing quantum communication networks

Quantum networks can provide a revolutionary solution for the development of certified secure communications, which are required in our society to protect, for instance, personal, bank, and government data transfers. However, photon loss and the lack of a robust interconnection between local nodes prevent such development.

The team led by Professor Morandotti seeks to solve these problems by developing efficient, low-loss and scalable interconnections between quantum photonic chips and optical fibers. A crucial step toward commercializing secure quantum communication systems.

“This project will be valuable for the entire quantum photonics community, and for its large-scale commercialization. Our expertise will contribute significantly to the development of hybrid quantum communication networks composed of integrated chips and optical fibers.”

Roberto Morandotti

The project “Efficient LOw-loss and scalable interconnects between integrated QUantum photonics dEvices and optical fibers for the development of quantum communication NeTworks” (ELOQUENT) has received a $128,742 grant. José Azaña (INRS), Luca Razzari (INRS), Sharif Sadaf (INRS), Pablo Bianucci (Concordia University), Raman Kashyap (Polytechnique), and Odile Liboiron-Ladouceur (McGill University), collaborate on the project.  

Molecular engineering under quantum confinement

An important advantage of quantum photonics over other platforms for quantum technologies is that light interacts very weakly with its environment. This allows the quantum information stored in the light to be preserved for a very long time. In quantum language, the decoherence time is long. This advantage, however, also raises an important challenge. In many contexts, to use a quantum state, it must be manipulated and the weak interaction of light with materials makes this difficult.

In this project led by Professor Orgiu, self-assembled polar molecular layers will be fabricated on both sides of the atomic bilayers. This will significantly increase the degree of internal polarization and consequently the interaction strength, as well as the reproducibility of the effect. By combining these layers with optical cavities, the team hopes to be able to generate photon interactions so strong that they will be sensitive at the single-photon scale.

“We are hoping to control certain fundamental optical properties of quantum materials, particularly through molecular layers on either side of these materials. Our project will support the design of new optical quantum devices with simplified architectures.”

Emanuele Orgiu

The project Molecular engineering of excitonic interactions between layers by Stark effect under quantum confinement has received a $130,200 grant. Fabio Boschini (INRS), François Légaré (INRS), and Stéphane Kéna-Cohen (Polytechnique) collaborate on the project.