Market: Quantum

Photonics has a long history of exploring quantum phenomena and is playing a key role in (future) technologies such as quantum computing, quantum key distribution, and quantum metrology. However, to make these technologies suitable for commercial applications, the traditional setups involving large optical tables with individually mounted optical components need more compact alternatives.

Photonic integrated circuits (PICs) are a great solution to this, because they can combine hundreds of optical components on a chip, offering miniaturization and lithographic accuracy. Several commercial parties have already developed PIC processors for quantum computing, and integrated photonics solutions for single photon emission and photon pair generation have also been demonstrated.

The road to commercialization

Quantum photonics solutions based on PICs are already finding their way into the market. An example of a commercialization process in this field is that of the quantum photonic processor of our customer and Qmode project partner QuiX Quantum.

photonic quantum processor on silicon nitride

From photonic integrated circuit…

The core technology in this example is a silicon nitride PIC that offers programmable, accurate, and stable quantum processing using single photons. These PICs are manufactured with an ever increasing number of qumodes (an equivalent to qubits), with the ambition of going from the current 12 x 12 modes to 50 x 50 and more.

photonic quantum processor packaged into optoelectronic module

… to optoelectronic module…

A PIC by itself is not a functional quantum processor yet. Each qumode requires an input and an output optical fiber to be coupled to the chip, so the 12 x 12 processor has a 12 channel fiber array at each end. The electronic coupling over ribbon cables requires hundreds of wire bonds along the PIC’s edges. Heat dissipation is realized by incorporating a thermoelectric cooler (TEC). The processor discussed in this example uses a PHIX Characterization Package. This cost-effective package type has room for the inputs and outputs and can grow along with the platform. Its open architecture and relatively large size pose no problem, because special environmental sealing or extreme miniaturization are not requirements in this application.

photonic quantum processor in commercial product

…to commercial product!

Having built a portable and attractive control box around the optoelectronic module containing the photonic quantum processor PIC, our customer realized their first commercial product. The control box contains the supporting electronics, provides connectors for the light sources and detectors, and offers a USB connection for interfacing with a PC. This solution makes room temperature quantum processing a convenient and affordable process.

How PHIX can support your quantum innovation

PHIX can contribute to your quantum photonics technology by providing PIC packaging and module assembly in scalable volumes. We have extensive experience with hybrid assembly of different PIC platforms, a technique that is vital in many quantum photonics applications to combine the favorable properties of different semiconductor materials.

Our prototype packages provide a good starting point for characterization of your PIC and prototyping of optoelectronic modules. For higher production numbers our volume packages may be an even better fit. If your modules are already being manufactured but you need some extra capacity or security in your supply chain, we can run your processes on our automatic machines through outsourcing or second-sourcing. Keep an eye on our news section for the latest developments of our rapidly growing company.

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