London Light hosts symposium on Photonics for Quantum and Net-Zero 

Quantum photonics and sustainable energy technologies took centre stage at a symposium hosted by The London Light and London Centre for Nanotechnology. The event took place at the Nash Lecture Theatre at King’s College London and saw presentations from leading researchers in the field. 

Professor Vladimir M Shalaev of Purdue University gave a riveting presentation titled “Scalable Quantum Photonics with Single-Photon Emitters in Silicon Nitride.” Shalaev highlighted the groundbreaking discovery of intrinsic quantum emitters in silicon nitride, which are capable of generating bright and high-purity single-photon emissions at room temperature. This cutting-edge finding opens up opportunities for seamless integration with silicon nitride photonic waveguides. 

Shalaev’s team at the Quantum Science Center, a National Quantum Information Science Research Center of the U.S. Department of Energy, has successfully created these quantum emitters and studied their photophysical properties at various temperatures. The team is currently investigating the possibility of producing indistinguishable photons at high repetition rates using plasmonic metamaterials. This research could prove critical for quantum photonics applications, including quantum communication and quantum computing. 

Following a brief coffee break, Professor Alexandra Boltasseva, also from Purdue University, captivated attendees with her lecture on “Plasmonics for Sustainable Technologies and Green Energy: From Materials to Machine-Learning Assisted Designs.” 

Boltasseva’s work focuses on the novel use of robust photonic materials such as plasmonic ceramics, specifically transition metal nitrides (TMNs), MXenes, and transparent conducting oxides (TCOs), in the development of sustainable, high-performance devices. These devices are compatible with numerous industrial applications, including sustainable energy, information technology, aerospace, and oil & gas. 

Moreover, Boltasseva discussed her team’s exploration of machine-learning-assisted photonic designs and materials optimization. They aim to develop efficient thermophotovoltaic (TPV) systems, lightsail spacecraft, and high-temperature sensors utilizing TMN metasurfaces. Her team is also investigating the potential of TMNs and TCOs for switchable photonics, refractory metasurfaces for energy conversion, high-power applications, and even photodynamic therapy and photocatalysis. 

The symposium highlighted the growing role of machine-learning-driven design frameworks and environmentally-friendly fabrication techniques in advancing the development of quantum technologies, photonic design, and materials engineering. The insights provided by Professors Shalaev and Boltasseva offered an exciting glimpse into the future of quantum photonics and sustainable technologies. 

London Light Co-director Anatoly Zayats with Professor Alexandra Boltasseva and Professor Vladimir M Shalaev