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Programmable Quantum Nanophotonics

Arka Majumdar, University of Washington
Monday, November 27, 2023 - 4:00pm
PAA A-102

Analog quantum simulators present a unique opportunity: instead of simulating a complex many-body system on a computer, we can program a scalable, controllable, and measurable “model quantum system” to mimic the behavior of another quantum system, and design new “synthetic quantum metamaterials” with properties not realizable in naturally occurring materials. Photons present an attractive physical system for analog quantum simulation as quantum states of photons are easily maintained due to their high energy and extremely weak interaction with the environment. Optical photons also allow direct measurement of multi-particle correlations and preserve the quantum states even at room temperature thanks to their high energy. Thanks to semiconductor fabrication, it is now possible to create large-scale photonic integrated circuits (PIC) to pack many optical functionalities on a chip. Unfortunately, PICs lack two critical components for quantum simulation: programmability and nonlinearity. In this talk, I will describe our efforts to mitigate these two issues and create a programmable quantum nanophotonic platform. Specifically, using a silicon photonic coupled cavity array made of high quality-factor resonators and equipped with specially designed thermo-optic island heaters for independent control of cavities, we demonstrated a programmable device implementing tight-binding Hamiltonians with access to the full eigen-energy spectrum. We report a reduction in the thermal crosstalk between neighboring sites of the cavity array compared to traditional heaters, and then present a control scheme to program the cavity array to a given tight-binding Hamiltonian. We also developed a boundary tomography algorithm to characterize the whole Hamiltonian with accessing nodes only at the edge/ boundary. Finally, I will discuss our efforts to achieve quantum nonlinearity in nanophotonic platform.

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