The continual development of data systems technology stands on the shoulders of advances in nanotechnology and modern applied physics. In particular, photonics offers a broad range of novel technologies, which are able to transform the way we receive and interact with information. We are developing tools and technologies in nanophotonics, quantum optics, integrated lasers, on-chip photonic solutions, and fibre optics. The spectrum of our research ranges from theoretical physics and numerical analysis to proof of concept physics and simple device development to lay the foundation for tomorrow’s data systems technologies and related fields. The Advanced Concepts and Nanotechnology (ACN) division looks beyond current generation and next generation devices to develop and nurture physical concepts into proof of concept experiments and toy devices that point towards manufacturability.
We are developing methods for novel data transmission inside data centre, high performance computers and eventually consumer electronics. Photonic technology, via fibre optics, carries internet traffic all over the world, throughout data centres and even into our homes. We are working to see how far “into the computer" photonics can transmit data, thus providing an alternative solution (faster and with greater bandwidth) compared to electronic data transmission. This is done by developing and integrating photonic components (such as lasers and amplifiers) onto a silicon waveguide platform and designing compact and efficient nanophotonic components on photonic chips.
Future display technologies:
We are developing novel approaches to enable the future of augmented reality, virtual reality (AR/VR) and 3D holographic display technologies. These new technologies can completely transform the way we receive and interact with information. In contrast to conventional displays, which provide pictures in two dimensions, we may now display content in three dimensions. Spatial light modulators (SLMs) are the major enabling display components, which define the resolution and viewing angle of the devices. Current performance of SLMs is limited by conventional optics used in the systems. Nanophotonics allows the manipulation of light at nanoscale dimensions and offers the opportunity to create SLMs with a resolution that can be sub-wavelength. ACN is working on new SLM concepts based on nanoantenna technologies, which may solve low resolution and viewing angle problems of the existing AR/VR and 3D holographic displays.
Quantum information networks are at the forefront of quantum technology. These networks employ stationary quantum systems as nodes which process and store quantum information. The nodes are connected by quantum links, which transfer quantum information from one node to another.
Deployment of quantum networks allows exponential scale-up (2N where N is the number of nodes) and acceleration of the ability to process data along with the distribution of quantum information. In addition, connecting quantum nodes allows secure and private communication as well as the potential for distributed quantum computation.
Our objective is to push the practical implementation of quantum networks by using integrated photonic technologies. We aim to engineer an integrated photonics platform, which will generate, transfer and detect quantum information on the same optical chip. The technology developed in this project will enable translation from proof-of-concept laboratory demonstrations of quantum devices to practical applications.