Abstract

On-chip single-photon sources are key components for integrated photonic quantum technologies. Semiconductor quantum dots can exhibit near-ideal single-photon emission, but this can be significantly degraded in on-chip geometries owing to nearby etched surfaces. A long-proposed solution to improve the indistinguishablility is to use the Purcell effect to reduce the radiative lifetime. However, until now only modest Purcell enhancements have been observed. Here we use pulsed resonant excitation to eliminate slow relaxation paths, revealing a highly Purcell-shortened radiative lifetime (22.7 ps) in a waveguide-coupled quantum dot–photonic crystal cavity system. This leads to near-lifetime-limited single-photon emission that retains high indistinguishablility (93.9%) on a timescale in which 20 photons may be emitted. Nearly background-free pulsed resonance fluorescence is achieved under π-pulse excitation, enabling demonstration of an on-chip, on-demand single-photon source with very high potential repetition rates.

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Acknowledgements

This work was funded by the EPSRC (UK) Programme Grants EP/J007544/1 and EP/N031776/1. The authors thank A. Ul-Haq, J. Iles-Smith, G. Buonaiuto, R. Kirkwood and S. Hughes for helpful discussions.

Author information

Author notes

    • Feng Liu

    Present address: JARA-Institute for Quantum Information, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany

    • Nikola Prtljaga

    Present address: Gooch & Housego (Torquay), Torquay, UK

  1. These authors contributed equally: Feng Liu, Alistair J. Brash, John O’Hara.

Affiliations

  1. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK

    • Feng Liu
    • , Alistair J. Brash
    • , John O’Hara
    • , Luis M. P. P. Martins
    • , Catherine L. Phillips
    • , Rikki J. Coles
    • , Benjamin Royall
    • , Christopher Bentham
    • , Nikola Prtljaga
    • , Luke R. Wilson
    • , Maurice S. Skolnick
    •  & A. Mark Fox
  2. EPSRC National Epitaxy Facility, Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK

    • Edmund Clarke
  3. School of Engineering and Computer Science, University of Hull, Hull, UK

    • Igor E. Itskevich

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Contributions

F.L. and A.J.B. designed and oversaw the experimental program. A.J.B., L.M.P.P.M. and F.L. developed the DPRF technique and carried out the measurements. J.O’H., L.M.P.P.M., A.J.B. and F.L. performed the SPAD lifetime measurements. J.O’H. and A.J.B. performed the RRS measurements with additional input from N.P.. A.J.B., J.O’H., L.M.P.P.M., F.L. and C.L.P. performed the pulsed correlation measurements. J.O’H. performed the master equation simulations of the system. R.J.C. designed and simulated the photonic structures. C.B. and I.E.I. performed initial characterization of the sample. E.C. grew the quantum dot wafer whilst B.R. fabricated the photonic nanostructures and processed the QD wafer into diodes with assistance from C.B.. L.R.W, I.E.I., M.S.S and A.M.F. provided supervision and expertise. F.L., A.J.B., J.O’H. and A.M.F. wrote the manuscript with input from all authors.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Alistair J. Brash.

Supplementary information

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    Supplementary Text, Supplementary Figures 1–12

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41565-018-0188-x