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Toward quantum chips

An array of light detectors that are sensitive enough to register the arrival of individual light particles, or photons, have been constructed by a group of researchers and mounted on a silicon optical chip.In quantum computing devices that make use of photons, such arrays are essential components.

Single-photon detectors are known for their erratic behavior:Only a few of the 100 that are deposited on a chip using standard manufacturing methods will typically function.A method for fabricating and testing the detectors separately and then transferring those that work to an optical chip constructed using standard manufacturing processes is described by researchers from MIT and other institutions in a paper that was published today in Nature Communications.

The method not only results in arrays that are significantly denser and larger, but it also raises the sensitivity of the detectors.The researchers found that, in comparison to earlier arrays, their detectors were up to 100 times more likely to accurately register the arrival of a single photon in experiments.

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