Article | Published:

Phonon scattering inhibits simultaneous near-unity efficiency and indistinguishability in semiconductor single-photon sources

Nature Photonics volume 11, pages 521526 (2017) | Download Citation

Abstract

Semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) have recently emerged as a leading platform to generate highly indistinguishable photons efficiently, and this work addresses the timely question of how good these solid-state sources can ultimately be. We establish the crucial role of lattice relaxation in these systems in giving rise to trade-offs between indistinguishability and efficiency. We analyse the two source architectures most commonly employed: a QD embedded in a waveguide and a QD coupled to an optical cavity. For waveguides, we demonstrate that the broadband Purcell effect results in a simple inverse relationship, in which indistinguishability and efficiency cannot be simultaneously increased. For cavities, the frequency selectivity of the Purcell enhancement results in a more subtle trade-off, in which indistinguishability and efficiency can be increased simultaneously, although not arbitrarily, which limits a source with near-unity indistinguishability (>99%) to an efficiency of approximately 96% for realistic parameters.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank N. Gregersen for useful discussions. J.I.-S. and J.M. acknowledge support from the Danish Research Council (DFF-4181-00416) and Villum Fonden (NATEC Centre, grant 8692). A.N. is supported by the University of Manchester and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, grant number EP/N008154/1. This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement no. 703193.

Author information

Author notes

    • Jake Iles-Smith
    •  & Dara P. S. McCutcheon

    These authors contributed equally to this work.

Affiliations

  1. Department of Photonics Engineering, DTU Fotonik, Ørsteds Plads, 2800 Kongens Lyngby, Denmark

    • Jake Iles-Smith
    •  & Jesper Mørk
  2. Quantum Engineering Technology Labs, H. H. Wills Physics Laboratory and Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1FD, UK

    • Dara P. S. McCutcheon
  3. Photon Science Institute & School of Physics and Astronomy, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK

    • Ahsan Nazir

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Contributions

All the authors were involved in the conception, development and writing of the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jake Iles-Smith.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2017.101

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