An optimal single-photon source should deterministically deliver one, and only one, photon at a time, with no trade-off between the source’s efficiency and the photon indistinguishability. However, all reported solid-state sources of indistinguishable single photons had to rely on polarization filtering, which reduced the efficiency by 50%, fundamentally limiting the scaling of photonic quantum technologies. Here, we overcome this long-standing challenge by coherently driving quantum dots deterministically coupled to polarization-selective Purcell microcavities. We present two examples: narrowband, elliptical micropillars and broadband, elliptical Bragg gratings. A polarization-orthogonal excitation–collection scheme is designed to minimize the polarization filtering loss under resonant excitation. We demonstrate a polarized single-photon efficiency of 0.60 ± 0.02 (0.56 ± 0.02), a single-photon purity of 0.975 ± 0.005 (0.991 ± 0.003) and an indistinguishability of 0.975 ± 0.006 (0.951 ± 0.005) for the micropillar (Bragg grating) device. Our work provides promising solutions for truly optimal single-photon sources combining near-unity indistinguishability and near-unity system efficiency simultaneously.
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $14.08 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding authors upon reasonable request.
Pan, J. W. et al. Multiphoton entanglement and interferometry. Rev. Mod. Phys. 84, 777–838 (2012).
Yin, J. et al. Satellite-based entanglement distribution over 1,200 kilometers. Science 356, 1140–1144 (2017).
Chu, X. L., Gotzinger, S. & Sandoghdar, V. A single molecule as a high-fidelity photon gun for producing intensity-squeezed light. Nat. Photon. 11, 58–62 (2017).
Slussarenko, S. et al. Unconditional violation of the shot-noise limit in photonic quantum metrology. Nat. Photon. 11, 700–703 (2017).
Kok, P. et al. Linear optical quantum computing with photonic qubits. Rev. Mod. Phys. 79, 135–174 (2007).
Aaronson, S. & Arkhipov, A. The computational complexity of linear optics. In Proc. 43rd Annu. ACM Symp. Theory of Computing 333–342 (ACM, 2011).
Hong, C. K., Ou, Z. Y. & Mandel, L. Measurement of subpicosecond time intervals between two photons by interference. Phys. Rev. Lett. 59, 2044–2046 (1987).
Shields, A. J. Semiconductor quantum light sources. Nat. Photon. 1, 215–223 (2007).
Buckley, S., Rivoire, K. & Vučković, J. Engineered quantum dot single-photon sources. Rep. Prog. Phys. 75, 126503 (2012).
Lodahl, P., Mahmoodian, S. & Stobbe, S. Interfacing single photons and single quantum dots with photonic nanostructures. Rev. Mod. Phys. 87, 347–400 (2015).
Senellart, P., Solomon, G. & White, A. High-performance semiconductor quantum-dot single-photon sources. Nat. Nanotechnol. 12, 1026–1039 (2017).
Gerard, J. M. et al. Enhanced spontaneous emission by quantum boxes in a monolithic optical microcavity. Phys. Rev. Lett. 81, 1110–1113 (1998).
Michler, P. et al. A quantum dot single-photon turnstile device. Science 290, 2282–2285 (2000).
Santori, C., Fattal, D., Vučković, J., Solomon, G. S. & Yamamoto, Y. Indistinguishable photons from a single-photon device. Nature 419, 594–597 (2002).
He, Y. M. et al. On-demand semiconductor single-photon source with near-unity indistinguishability. Nat. Nanotechnol. 8, 213–217 (2013).
Ding, X. et al. On-demand single photons with high extraction efficiency and near-unity indistinguishability from a resonantly driven quantum dot in a micropillar. Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 020401 (2016).
Somaschi, N. et al. Near-optimal single-photon sources in the solid state. Nat. Photon. 10, 340–345 (2016).
Madsen, K. H. et al. Efficient out-coupling of high-purity single photons from a coherent quantum dot in a photonic-crystal cavity. Phys. Rev. B 90, 155303 (2014).
Liu, F. et al. High Purcell factor generation of coherent on-chip single photons. Nat. Nanotechnol. 13, 835–840 (2018).
Wang, H. et al. Near-transform-limited single photons from an efficient solid-state quantum emitter. Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 213601 (2016).
Kuhlmann, A. V. et al. Transform-limited single photons from a single quantum dot. Nat. Commun. 6, 8204 (2015).
Wang, H. et al. High efficiency multiphoton boson sampling. Nat. Photon. 11, 361–365 (2017).
Neville, A. et al. Classical boson sampling algorithms with superior performance to near-term experiments. Nat. Phys. 13, 1153–1157 (2017).
Varnava, M., Browne, D. E. & Rudolph, T. How good must single photon sources and detectors be for efficient linear optical quantum computation? Phys. Rev. Lett. 100, 060502 (2008).
Vamivakas, A. N., Zhao, Y., Lu, C. Y. & Atature, M. Spin-resolved quantum-dot resonance fluorescence. Nat. Phys. 5, 198–202 (2009).
Muller, A. et al. Resonance fluorescence from a coherently driven semiconductor quantum dot in a cavity. Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 187402 (2007).
Ates, S. et al. Post-selected indistinguishable photons from the resonance fluorescence of a single quantum dot in a microcavity. Phys. Rev. Lett. 103, 167402 (2009).
Davanço, M., Rakher, M. T., Schuh, D., Badolato, A. & Srinivasan, K. A circular dielectric grating for vertical extraction of single quantum dot emission. Appl. Phys. Lett. 99, 041102 (2011).
Sapienza, L., Davanço, M., Badolato, A. & Srinivasan, K. Nanoscale optical positioning of single quantum dots for bright and pure single-photon emission. Nat. Commun. 6, 7833 (2015).
Srinivasan, K. & Painter, O. Linear and nonlinear optical spectroscopy of a strongly coupled microdisk–quantum dot system. Nature 450, 862–865 (2007).
Claudon, J. et al. A highly efficient single-photon source based on a quantum dot in a photonic nanowire. Nat. Photon. 4, 174–177 (2010).
Munsch, M. et al. Linearly polarized, single-mode spontaneous emission in a photonic nanowire. Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 077405 (2012).
Gayral, B., Gérard, J. M., Legrand, B., Costard, E. & Thierry-Mieg, V. Optical study of GaAs/AlAs pillar microcavities with elliptical cross section. Appl. Phys. Lett. 72, 1421–1423 (1998).
Moreau, E. et al. Single-mode solid-state single photon source based on isolated quantum dots in pillar microcavities. Appl. Phys. Lett. 79, 2865–2867 (2001).
Unitt, D. C., Bennett, A. J., Atkinson, P., Ritchie, D. A. & Shields, A. J. Polarization control of quantum dot single-photon sources via a dipole-dependent Purcell effect. Phys. Rev. B 72, 033318 (2005).
Lee, Y. & Lin, S. Polarized emission of quantum dots in microcavity and anisotropic Purcell factors. Opt. Express 22, 1512–1523 (2014).
Daraei, A. et al. Control of polarized single quantum dot emission in high-quality-factor microcavity pillars. Appl. Phys. Lett. 88, 051113 (2006).
Strauf, S. et al. High-frequency single-photon source with polarization control. Nat. Photon. 1, 704–708 (2007).
Moreau, E. et al. A single-mode solid-state source of single photons based on isolated quantum dots in a micropillar. Physica E 13, 418–422 (2002).
Li, L. Z. et al. Efficient photon collection from a nitrogen vacancy center in a circular bullseye grating. Nano Lett. 15, 1493–1497 (2015).
Chen, X.-W., Gotzinger, S. & Sandoghdar, V. 99% efficiency in collecting photons from a single emitter. Opt. Lett. 36, 3545–3547 (2011).
Reimer, M. E. et al. Bright single-photon sources in bottom-up tailored nanowires. Nat. Commun. 3, 737 (2012).
Fischbach, S. et al. Efficient single-photon source based on a deterministically fabricated single quantum dot-microstructure with backside gold mirror. Appl. Phys. Lett. 111, 011106 (2017).
Chen, Y., Zopf, M., Keil, R., Ding, F. & Schmidt, O. G. Highly-efficient extraction of entangled photons from quantum dots using a broadband optical antenna. Nat. Commun. 9, 2994 (2018).
Abudayyeh, H. A. & Rapaport, R. Quantum emitters coupled to circular nanoantennas for high-brightness quantum light sources. Quantum Sci. Technol. 2, 034004 (2017).
Wang, H. et al. On-demand semiconductor source of entangled photons which simultaneously has high fidelity, efficiency and indistinguishability. Phys. Rev. Lett. 122, 113602 (2019).
Liu, J. et al. A solid-state source of strongly entangled photon pairs with high brightness and indistinguishability. Nat. Nanotechnol. 14, 586–593 (2019).
Kaer, P., Gregersen, N. & Mørk, J. The role of phonon scattering in the indistinguishability of photons emitted from semiconductor cavity QED systems. New J. Phys. 15, 035027 (2013).
Rivera, T. et al. Optical losses in plasma-etched AlGaAs microresonators using reflection spectroscopy. Appl. Phys. Lett. 74, 911–913 (1999).
Winkler, K. et al. High quality factor GaAs microcavity with buried bullseye defects. Phys. Rev. Mater. 2, 052201 (2018).
Liu, J. et al. Single self-assembled InAs/GaAs quantum dots in photonic nanostructures: the role of nanofabrication. Phys. Rev. Appl. 9, 064019 (2018).
Iles-Smith, J., McCutcheon, D. P. S., Nazir, A. & Mørk, J. Phonon scattering inhibits simultaneous near-unity efficiency and indistinguishability in semiconductor single-photon sources. Nat. Photon. 11, 521–526 (2017).
O’Brien, J. L., Furusawa, A. & Vučković, J. Photonic quantum technologies. Nat. Photon. 3, 687–695 (2009).
Flamini, F., Spagnolo, N. & Sciarrino, F. Photonic quantum information processing: a review. Rep. Prog. Phys. 82, 016001 (2018).
This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 11525419, 91836303, 11674308), the Chinese Academy of Science, the Anhui Initiative in Quantum Information Technologies, the Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality, the National Fundamental Research Program (grant no. 2018YFA0306104) and the State of Bavaria.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Publisher’s note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Wang, H., He, YM., Chung, TH. et al. Towards optimal single-photon sources from polarized microcavities. Nat. Photonics 13, 770–775 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41566-019-0494-3
Nature Nanotechnology (2021)
Open-geometry modal method based on transverse electric and transverse magnetic mode expansion for orthogonal curvilinear coordinates
Physical Review E (2021)
Physical Review Letters (2021)
Physical Review Letters (2021)
Nature Nanotechnology (2021)