Quantum communication, the transfer of quantum superposition states over long distances, is presently limited to about 200km (both in optical fibre and free space) due to unavoidable photon absorption losses. For this reason, theoretical schemes to extend this distance using “entanglement swapping” and “teleportation” have been established. By concatenating short entanglement swapping sub-sections it is in principle possible to generate entangled (correlated) bits over very long distances with bit rate only limited by the losses in one short section. If realised this would extend quantum communication applications such as quantum cryptography and quantum teleportation out to distances of thousands of kilometres.
In this consortium we propose to work towards such a deterministic quantum network based on semiconductor quantum dot-micropillar cavity systems. We will generate entangled photon sources from the biexciton-exciton cascade of a quantum dot (QD), with a potential fidelity of >90%. Moreover, we will develop a QD-spin micropillar cavity system, which acts as an all-in-one spin-photon-interface and a Bell-state analyser. This component eliminates the need for synchronous arrival of the two photons, and allows a wait-until-success protocol over the timescale of the spin coherence time (microseconds to milliseconds). Further subcomponents will include electro-optically tuneable single photon sources and recently proposed sequentially entangled sources.
With this suite of subcomponents we will be able to realise all the functions required for a scalable quantum network including the final entanglement purification steps. This is in contrast to previous experimental demonstrations of entanglement swapping (and teleportation) which were probabilistic and thus unscalable. The project involves collaboration between four partners. We will bring together two world-class groups, LPN and Würzburg (UWUERZ), working on micropillar cavities producing highly efficient entangled pair sources (LPN), and strongly-coupled QD-spin-cavity systems (UWUERZ), with the aim of addressing the challenging issues of entangled-pair sources and spin-cavity systems. Theoretical support for novel and practical entanglement schemes will be provided by Imperial College (IMP), and the experimental implementation will be performed by Bristol (BRIS) and LPN, who have world-class expertise in quantum optical communication, QD spins and semiconductor microcavity quantum electro-dynamics.