Photonic Crystals for Quantum and Classical Information Processing

April 3, 2009
Speaker: Dirk Englund, Harvard University


Photonic crystals are periodic dielectric structures that allow guiding and confining of light with very low loss. We use this property to control the interaction of photons with single emitters, such as semiconductor quantum dots or color centers. This control enables highly integrated solid state devices for quantum information science, a field that exploits inherently quantum mechanical effects to process and exchange information in ways that cannot be achieved classically. I will describe cavity-enhanced generation of single photons; nonlinear optical interactions at the single photon level; and nonclassical state generation by photon blockade and tunneling.
Photonic crystals also represent an appealing platform for optical interconnects, which promise to solve major problems of future high-performance silicon chips and reduce the power consumption of the rapidly growing information technology infrastructure. I will describe low-threshold, ultrafast photonic crystal devices that can be efficiently integrated with passive photonic components on semiconductor chips.

Finally, I will discuss exciting opportunities for a new generation of devices at the intersection of quantum and classical information processing. Such `quantum photonic' devices could enable high-speed signal processing at the single photon level; low-power electro-optical switching; and spin-off applications in energy generation and biochemical sensing.


Dirk Englund received his B.S. degree in Physics from Caltech in 2002. Following a year at the Technical University of Eindhoven, where he studied spintronics as a Fulbright Scholar, he proceeded to Stanford University to complete an M.S. in Electrical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Applied Physics in 2008. After postdoctoral work in Electrical Engineering at Stanford, he began a postdoctoral position with Professors Mikhail Lukin and Hongkun Park at Harvard University in 2009. His research focuses on applications of nanoscale physics and quantum optics in photonic crystals. He has co-authored over 25 journal articles and several book chapters.

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