Fully integrated quantum photonic circuit with an electrically driven light source

Journal name:
Nature Photonics
Year published:
Published online


Photonic quantum technologies allow quantum phenomena to be exploited in applications such as quantum cryptography, quantum simulation and quantum computation. A key requirement for practical devices is the scalable integration of single-photon sources, detectors and linear optical elements on a common platform. Nanophotonic circuits enable the realization of complex linear optical systems, while non-classical light can be measured with waveguide-integrated detectors. However, reproducible single-photon sources with high brightness and compatibility with photonic devices remain elusive for fully integrated systems. Here, we report the observation of antibunching in the light emitted from an electrically driven carbon nanotube embedded within a photonic quantum circuit. Non-classical light generated on chip is recorded under cryogenic conditions with waveguide-integrated superconducting single-photon detectors, without requiring optical filtering. Because exclusively scalable fabrication and deposition methods are used, our results establish carbon nanotubes as promising nanoscale single-photon emitters for hybrid quantum photonic devices.

At a glance


  1. Integrated circuit design.
    Figure 1: Integrated circuit design.

    a, Schematic view of a waveguide with integrated sc-SWCNT and two SNSPDs, all biased electrically. b, Optical micrograph of the metallic contacts and the waveguide. The positions of the detectors and emitter are denoted by D and E, respectively. c, Optical micrograph of the NbN nanowire under the resist cover layer with metal contacts and underlying waveguide. d, Scanning electron microscopy image of the waveguide between two metal contacts and a connecting sc-SWCNT.

  2. Spectral characterization of the sc-SWCNT emitter.
    Figure 2: Spectral characterization of the sc-SWCNT emitter.

    a, Far-field emission of the sc-SWCNT emitter under weak pumping, recorded at room temperature. The optical intensity pattern is superimposed on an optical micrograph image of the device. b, Electroluminescence spectrum of the sc-SWCNT showing a pronounced maximum at 1,370 nm.

  3. Observation of antibunching in electrically driven sc-SWCNTs.
    Figure 3: Observation of antibunching in electrically driven sc-SWCNTs.

    ac, Coincidence histograms of non-classical light emission recorded with different bias for the same sc-SWCNT (grey circles). Dashed white lines represent the best fit to convoluted equation (1). Coloured lines overlapping white lines are the respective deconvoluted correlation functions. The histograms are normalized to the averaged count numbers of 49, 111 and 243, respectively (collected at the limit of the time delay axis). d, Correlation function at zero delay obtained from the fit depending on electrical bias, measured with the same sc-SWCNT. y error bars represent standard deviation derived from the fit. x error bars represent the uncertainty of the measured electrical power. Coloured points represent the fitted g2(0) value to the data sets shown in ac. Dashed grey lines represent g2(0) = 0.5 and serves as a guide for the eye.

  4. Device count rate and SWCNT efficiency.
    Figure 4: Device count rate and SWCNT efficiency.

    a, Count rate N′ of sc-SWCNT emitters measured as a function of current. Two kinks in the sc-SWCNT dependency are clearly visible. Asterisk denotes the first kink due to EEA. Linear fits reveal slopes of 1.4, 0.4 and 1.1 (left to right). The coloured area represents the current range with the strongest antibunching (shown in Fig. 3a,b). b, Quantum efficiency η of semiconducting (red) and metallic (blue) SWCNTs depending on electrical power. The luminescent light of semiconducting SWCNTs shows much higher efficiency than the incandescence of metallic SWCNTs in the presented power range. c, Correlation amplitude of antibunching (c2) in dependence on bunching amplitude (c1), observed from a fit with equation (1). x and y error bars represent standard deviation. Coloured points indicate the fitted values to the histograms, shown in Fig. 3a–c.


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Author information

  1. These authors contributed equally to this work

    • Svetlana Khasminskaya &
    • Felix Pyatkov


  1. Institute of Nanotechnology, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe 76021, Germany

    • Svetlana Khasminskaya,
    • Felix Pyatkov,
    • Simone Ferrari,
    • Oliver Kahl,
    • Vadim Kovalyuk,
    • Patrik Rath,
    • Andreas Vetter,
    • Frank Hennrich,
    • Manfred M. Kappes,
    • Carsten Rockstuhl &
    • Ralph Krupke
  2. Department of Materials and Earth Sciences, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Darmstadt 64287, Germany

    • Felix Pyatkov &
    • Ralph Krupke
  3. Institute of Theoretical Solid State Physics, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe 76131, Germany

    • Karolina Słowik &
    • Carsten Rockstuhl
  4. Institute of Physics, Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Informatics, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Grudziadzka 5, Torun 87-100, Poland

    • Karolina Słowik
  5. Department of Physics, University of Münster, Münster 48149, Germany

    • Simone Ferrari,
    • Oliver Kahl,
    • Patrik Rath &
    • Wolfram H. P. Pernice
  6. Department of Physics, Moscow State Pedagogical University, Moscow 119992, Russia

    • Vadim Kovalyuk,
    • G. Gol'tsman &
    • A. Korneev
  7. Institute of Physical Chemistry, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe 76131, Germany

    • Manfred M. Kappes


W.H.P.P. and R.K. conceived the experiments. S.K. and F.P. fabricated the devices. K.S. and C.R. performed the fitting simulations. S.K. and F.P. performed the measurements with the help of S.F., O.K., P.R., A.V. and V.K. V.K. deposited the superconducting thin films with the help of A.K. and G.G. F.H. and M.M.K. prepared the nanotube suspensions. All authors analysed the data and contributed to writing the manuscript.

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