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    Critical thoughts on quantum technologies

    The Revolution of Microdevice Manufacturing: Unlocking the Potential of Quantum Technologies

    ByThemba Hadebe

    Feb 12, 2024
    The Revolution of Microdevice Manufacturing: Unlocking the Potential of Quantum Technologies

    In the pursuit of the future, a team of innovative scientists from Tsinghua University in Beijing, led by Professor Hongbo Sun, has made a groundbreaking discovery in the field of microdevice manufacturing. Through the use of femtosecond lasers and the implementation of a pioneering method called threshold tracking and lock-in (TTL), they have achieved a manufacturing precision at a near-atomic scale, with feature sizes as small as 5 nanometers.

    The TTL method revolutionizes the fabrication of high-end single photon sources (SPEs) that are crucial for the development of quantum photonic technologies. By using probe light pulses to monitor atomic damage during the manufacturing process, the TTL method allows the scientists to precisely determine the intrinsic damage threshold of the target material. This feat surpasses the limits of optical diffraction and opens new possibilities in laser manufacturing accuracy.

    The single photon sources manufactured using this technique possess remarkable properties, such as high brightness, purity, and stability. This accomplishment represents a significant milestone in the scalable production of quantum devices and has been published in the esteemed journal ‘Light: Science & Applications’, renowned for its focus on optics and photonics research.

    Parallel to this groundbreaking achievement, Aegiq, a technology start-up, has emerged as the winner of a 30 million quantum testbed competition. Their winning project, Artemis, a compact photonic quantum computer, is set to be delivered to the National Quantum Computing Centre. This achievement marks a crucial step towards the practical implementation of quantum systems that can effectively address real-world problems.

    The advancements in quantum photonic technology have sparked a surge in investments in quantum technology and the semiconductor industry worldwide. Governments, including the UK, are increasing funding for research hubs and companies exploring the potential of quantum computing. Their aim is to accelerate the development of quantum computing hardware prototypes using photonic technologies and to advance high-voltage electronic devices utilizing cutting-edge compound semiconductors.

    The future of quantum technologies holds great promise in solving some of the most complex problems in science and beyond. With each new discovery and innovation, we move closer to unlocking the full potential of quantum systems and harnessing their power for the betterment of our world.

    FAQs based on the article:

    1. What groundbreaking discovery has been made by scientists from Tsinghua University?
    – The scientists have achieved a manufacturing precision at a near-atomic scale using femtosecond lasers and a method called threshold tracking and lock-in (TTL). Feature sizes as small as 5 nanometers have been achieved.

    2. What is the significance of the TTL method?
    – The TTL method revolutionizes the fabrication of high-end single photon sources (SPEs) used in quantum photonic technologies. It allows for precise determination of the intrinsic damage threshold of the target material, surpassing the limits of optical diffraction.

    3. What are the properties of the single photon sources manufactured using this technique?
    – The single photon sources possess high brightness, purity, and stability.

    4. What is the name of the winning project in the quantum testbed competition?
    – The winning project is called Artemis, a compact photonic quantum computer developed by Aegiq, a technology start-up.

    5. What is the aim of governments, including the UK, in increasing funding for research and companies exploring quantum computing?
    – The aim is to accelerate the development of quantum computing hardware prototypes using photonic technologies and advance high-voltage electronic devices utilizing cutting-edge compound semiconductors.

    Definitions:
    – Femtosecond lasers: Lasers that emit pulses with durations on the order of femtoseconds (one quadrillionth of a second). These lasers are used for precision manufacturing and various scientific applications.
    – Threshold tracking and lock-in (TTL): A method used in manufacturing to precisely determine the intrinsic damage threshold of a material by monitoring atomic damage during the process.
    – Single photon source (SPE): A source that emits individual photons one at a time. These sources are crucial in quantum photonic technologies.
    – Quantum photonic technology: Technology that utilizes the principles of quantum mechanics and incorporates light (photons) for various applications, such as quantum computing and secure communication.
    – Semiconductor industry: The industry involved in the manufacturing of semiconductor devices, including microchips and other electronic components.

    Suggested related links:
    Tsinghua University
    Journal ‘Light: Science & Applications’
    Aegiq (technology start-up)
    National Quantum Computing Centre