High-performance semiconductor quantum-dot single-photon sources

Nat Nanotechnol. 2017 Nov 7;12(11):1026-1039. doi: 10.1038/nnano.2017.218.


Single photons are a fundamental element of most quantum optical technologies. The ideal single-photon source is an on-demand, deterministic, single-photon source delivering light pulses in a well-defined polarization and spatiotemporal mode, and containing exactly one photon. In addition, for many applications, there is a quantum advantage if the single photons are indistinguishable in all their degrees of freedom. Single-photon sources based on parametric down-conversion are currently used, and while excellent in many ways, scaling to large quantum optical systems remains challenging. In 2000, semiconductor quantum dots were shown to emit single photons, opening a path towards integrated single-photon sources. Here, we review the progress achieved in the past few years, and discuss remaining challenges. The latest quantum dot-based single-photon sources are edging closer to the ideal single-photon source, and have opened new possibilities for quantum technologies.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't