Defect-state color centers in solid-state crystals are a key system for single-photon generation. They are essential for integrated quantum photonic devices and quantum communication applications. We focus on defects in two-dimensional (2D) hexagonal boron nitride (hBN), due to their chemical, thermal robustness, and high single-photon luminosity at room temperature. Unlike NV-centers in diamond and similar 3D emitter systems, the 2D crystal lattice of hBN allows for an intrinsically ideal extraction efficiency, as none of the emitters are embedded in any high refractive index material. They are consequently not affected by Fresnel or total internal reflection. In addition, atomically-thin crystals can be integrated into photonic circuits easily.

We are investigating new ways to develop these emitters, enhance their photophysical properties [1], and integrate them with photonic structures [2]. We are particularly interested in space-based quantum key distribution (QKD) applications. Our first satellite prototype (1U CubeSat within 10×10×10 cm3) has sufficient photon quality to outperform conventional laser-based sources [3]. In addition, a space-certification study of our single-photon emitters and other 2D materials demonstrated robust use of these novel nanomaterials for space instrumentation, communication, and fundamental tests of quantum theory [4].

The experiments have been originally developed at the Australian National University. In Jena, we continue to advance the satellite payloads. We are transitioning our prototype to a QKD demonstrator and devise test fundamental tests for quantum theory.

(left) A Cube-Sat prototype for a space-based Quantum Optics experiment using 2D Materials. (right) Schematic of a single-photons source enhanced by a cavity and integrated into an optical fiber-based delivery system.

Joining us/Collaborating

If you are interested in working or collaborating with us, please feel free to contact us. We have several opportunities for students to work in the fields of photonics, 2D materials, and quantum information processing.


[1] T. Vogl, G. Campbell, B. C. Buchler, Y. Lu, and P. K. Lam, Fabrication and Deterministic Transfer of High-Quality Quantum Emitters in Hexagonal Boron Nitride, ACS Photonics 5, 2305-2312 (2018)

[2] T. Vogl, Y. Lu, and P. K. Lam, Room temperature single photon source using fiber-integrated hexagonal boron nitride, J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 50, 29510 (2017)

[3] T. Vogl, R. Lecamwasam, B. C. Buchler, Y. Lu, and P. K. Lam, Space-compatible cavity-enhanced single-photon generation with hexagonal boron nitride, arXiv:1902.03019 (2019)

[4] T. Vogl et al., Radiation tolerance of two-dimensional material-based devices for space applications, Nature Communications 10, 1202 (2019)


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