Researchers at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and TMOS, which is an Australian Council Centre of Excellence, have developed a new technology that could be used to effectively prevent the decryption of online activity. It would better secure things like private social media messaging and banking, and it is a major step towards accessible quantum communications. The most impressive part of this entire approach is that the technology was created with a single piece of adhesive tape.
The research paper was published in ACS Photonics.
The Development of Quantum Communication
Still in its early development stage, quantum communication is extremely limited due to the expensive cost of fabricating the required devices. The new technology developed by the team integrates quantum sources and waveguides on chip, and the way it’s designed makes it affordable and scalable. This will go a long way in enabling quantum communication for everyday use.
There have been previous attempts at developing fully functional quantum communication technology, but there are often problems with a lack of reliable quantum light sources to encode and transmit information.
White Graphene and Tape
The team developed a new platform to generate quantum emitters based on hexagonal boron nitride, which is also called white graphene. Current quantum emitters are often created through complex methods in clean rooms, and this process is expensive. However, the new quantum emitters can be created with just $20 worth of white graphene pressed onto a piece of adhesive tape.
2D materials, they can be pressed onto a sticky surface like the adhesive tape. They are then exfoliated, or the top layer is peeled off to create a flex. Multiple layers of flex can then be assembled, which creates a bottom up approach as a substitute for 3D systems.
Igor Aharonovich is TMOS Chief Investigator.
“2D materials, like hexagonal boron nitride, are emerging materials for integrated quantum photonics, and are poised to impact the way we design and engineer future optical components for secured communication,” Aharonovich said.
The team also developed a high efficiency on-chip waveguide, which is crucial for on-chip optical processing.
Chi Li is lead author of the paper.
“Low signal levels have been a significant barrier preventing quantum communications from evolving into practical, workable models,” Li said. “We hope that with this new development, quantum comms will become an everyday technology that improves people's lives in new and exciting ways.”
The new development brings us one step closer to implementing quantum technologies for everday use. They open up a wide range of opportunities in cybersecuriy, which is often not talked about enough.