We study topics in nanophotonics, quantum optics, and nonlinear optics. Generally, the goal of research in nanophotonics is to create technology to manipulate light within micro- and nanoscale circuits. Nanophotonic circuits are created with many of the same nanoscale fabrication and patterning tools and techniques used to create electronic microchips, and are beginning to play a role in high performance computing and data center architectures at companies like HP, IBM and Intel, and in quantum computing technologies being developed by a growing list of startups.

From a more fundamental perspective, nanophotonic devices create extremely high electromagnetic energy densities at even the single photon level. They accomplish this by concentrating optical energy into nanoscale volumes, and trapping it there for relatively long lengths of time (above a nanosecond, which is a million times longer than a single oscillation at the frequency of light). These enhanced electromagnetic energy densities result in strong interactions between light and the nanophotonic devices, and amplify nominally small optical effects such as nonlinear absorption and optical coupling to mechanical resonances. In the ultimate limit, even for a weak input consisting of only a single photon, these effects can significantly modify the linear response of a nanophotonic device.

Broad efforts being developed in the lab utilizing these ideas and technolog are listed below. For updates on our latest work, check our publications and conference activities.

Quantum nanophotonics and nanomechanics in diamond: towards hybrid quantum systems

Diamond is host to impurities and defects that are one of the most promising solid state systems for realizing qubits for quantum information processing. They have been used already in proof-of-principle quantum optics experiments, and if they can be incorporated into nanophotonic devices it is hoped that it will be possible to build practical quantum technologies, e.g. for quantum computing and networking.

We have developed a new and versatile approach for creating nanophotonic devices from diamond, and have shown that we can use these devices to couple light to nanomechanical oscillators as well as SiV and NV colour centres.

Using these and future devices, we are now working to create technologies aimed at quantum applications: quantum memories (based on both optomechanics and spin storage), efficient light-matter interfaces for quantum networking, quantum devices that harness phonons for controlling and coupling qubits, wavelength converters, and more.

Silicon photonic optomechanical sensors

We have recently demontrated nanocavity optomechanical devices based on silicon photonics which can detect sources of torque with unprecedented sensitivity. These structures are currently being used to probe nanomagnetic phenomena and demomstrate magnetic field sensors with unique combination of spatial resolution, sensitivity and dynamic range.

Several projects are building on this success: creating sensors for detecting optical angular momentum (which is relevant to quantum and classical communication), performing multidimensional magnetometry, and going "beyond silicon" to improve device performance.

2D material based nanophotonics and optomechanics

2D materials, the most famous of which is graphene, are promising for sensing and quantum technology. Hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) is a layered 2D material that is exciting thanks to its ability to host quantum emitters / single photon sources. By combining hBN with silicon photonic devices, we recently demonstrated the very first cavity optomechanical system with this material, and are working to realize quantum technologies that utilize our ability to control photons and phonons within it.

Nonlinear optics

Thanks to its large electronic bandgap, GaP is one few semiconductors which is transparent at both visible and telecom wavelengths. This makes it a promising material for nonlinear and quantum optics applications involving frequency and photon pair conversion. These experiments are on-going, and have the potential to result in highly-efficient chip-based sources of quantum light. We recently demonstrated conversion of light from 1550nm to 775nm with record efficiency using these devices, and want to next use them to create entangled photon pairs for quantum communication.