Tunable Optical Chip Paves Way For New Quantum Devices

Researchers have created a silicon carbide (SiC) photonic integrated optical chip that can be thermally tuned by applying an electric signal. Phase shifters and tunable optical couplers, which are required for networking apps and quantum information processing, could be made using the method in the future.

SiC is becoming more popular even though silicon still makes up the majority of computer and optical circuits because it has superior thermal, electrical, and mechanical characteristics to silicon, is biocompatible, and can operate at wavelengths from visible to infrared.

The integration of a microheater and an optical component known as a microring resonator onto a SiC chip is described in depth in the paper. This feat entails the creation of the first thermally tunable, completely integrated, near-infrared SiC optical switch.

Devices like the one they show in this work can be used as building blocks for biocompatible sensors and probes and for the next generation of quantum information processing devices.

SiC has defects that can be optically controlled and manipulated as quantum bits or qubits, making it especially appealing for quantum computing and communication. Because data is encoded in qubits, which can concurrently be in any combination of two states, quantum computing, and communication promises to be considerably faster than conventional computing at solving some problems.

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