One of the key building blocks of quantum photonic systems is a source of indistinguishable photons. Silicon ring resonators can be used as photon pair sources by taking advantage of silicon's large third order nonlinearity with a process known as spontaneous four wave mixing. These sources are capable of producing pairs of indistinguishable photons but typically suffer from an effective 50% loss. By slightly decoupling the input waveguide from the ring, the desired photons generated in the ring can be directed to the drop port. Thus, the ratio between the coincidences from the drop port and the total number of coincidences from all ports (coincidence efficiency) can be significantly increased, with the trade-off being that the pump is less efficiently coupled into the ring. This asymmetric coupling scheme was used to demonstrate a dual-bus microring source with a coincidence efficiency of ~96%. Unfortunately, the penalty to pump power was quite large, with a required ~10x increase in the pump power to maintain the same pair generation rate.
To further improve upon this result, a microring source was designed with multipoint evanescent couplers to induce a strong spectral dependence in the coupling coefficients. This coupler design can be used on both sides of the ring resonator so that resonances supported by one of the couplers are suppressed by the other. This is the ideal configuration for a ring-based photon-pair source as it can only support the pump photons at the input side while only allowing the generated photons to leave through the output side. Asymmetric coupling was also used in this configuration but in a different way than in the previous source. In this case, the input side of the ring was configured to be critically coupled for maximal resonance enhancement while the output side was configured to be over coupled to minimize photon-pair loss within the ring. This device design was used to demonstrate a photon-pair source with coincidence efficiencies of 0.9981+-6.425x10^-4 and 0.9979+-1.665x10^-3 for degenerate and non-degenerate pump configuration respectively.
In addition to the source development, work was done to move some of the pump rejection filtering onto the photonic chip. While the fabricated device only exhibited an extinction of 50 dB, the root cause of the limited extinction was explored and a new filter design was proposed to overcome these limitations. With the combination of the microring source with its greatly improved efficiency and the movement toward reducing the required off-chip filtering, this work represents a significant advancement in the scalability of integrated quantum photonic systems which can enable high performance quantum computing and communication systems.
Microsystems Engineering (Ph.D.)
Department, Program, or Center
Microsystems Engineering (KGCOE)
Steidle, Jeffrey A., "Development of a High Performance Resonant Photon-Pair Source in Silicon" (2019). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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