Scientists have created artificial atoms that generate single photons, an advance that can be a big step in the effort to develop alloptic quantum calculations. 19659005] The artificial atoms – working in air and at room temperature – were created by drilling holes in a thin two-dimensional hexagonal boron nitride sheet with a galliu m-focused ion beam.
"Our work provides a source of single photos that can act as carriers of quantum information or as qubits. We have patterned these sources and created as many as we want, where we want," says Benjamin J Aleman, of the University of Oregon in the United States.
"We would like to pattern these individual photo emitters in circuits or networks on a microchip so that they can talk to each other or to other existing qubits, such as solid state spins or superconducting circuit qubits," Aleman said.  Artificial atoms were discovered three years ago in flakes of 2D hexagonal boron nitride, a single insulating layer of alternating boron and nitrogen atoms in a grid also known as white graph.
Scientists use the discovery to produce and use photons as sources of single photons and qubits in quantum photonic circuits.
Traditional approach to using atoms in quantum research has focused on capturing atoms or ions, and h manipulate its rotation with lasers so that they exhibit quantum sets or the ability to be in a simultaneous combination of "off" and "states".
But such work has required working in vacuum in extremely cold temperatures with sophisticated equipment.
Motivated by the observation that artificial atoms are often found near an edge, the researchers first created the edges of the white graph through drill circuits of 500 nanometers wide and four nanometers deep.
The devices were then connected in oxygen at 850 degrees Celsius to remove carbon and other residual material and to activate the emitters.
Confocal microscopy revealed small spots of light coming from the drilled regions. Zoom in, Aleman's team saw that the individual light points transmitted light at the lowest possible level – a single photo at a time.
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The individual photons may be used as small, extremely sensitive thermometers, in quantum code distribution or to transmit, store and process quantum information according to the study published in magazine Nano Letters.
"The big breakthrough is that we have discovered a simple, scalable way to nanofabricate artificial atoms on a microchip and that the artificial atoms work in air and at room temperature" Aleman said.
"Our artificial atoms enable lots of new and powerful technologies. In the future, they can be used for safer, safer, completely private communication and much more powerful computers that can design life-saving drugs and help researchers gain a deeper understanding of the universe through quantum computing. he says.