Quantum technology has seen big leaps in recent years and seems set to revolutionize computing and communications. University of Chicago physics grad student Rhys Povey is among the scientists working to develop quantum transduction technology, a strategy to enable longer-range communications than is possible with superconducting qubits, which require cryogenic temperatures. Quantum transduction transforms microwave-scale electronic signals into infrared signals that can travel through fiber optic cables—and, crucially, it keeps quantum properties intact.
This scanning electron microscope image, which Povey submitted to the University of Chicago’s 2023 Science as Art competition, shows a microsized resonator he made to achieve that transformation. It’s about 10 µm across, made from gallium arsenide, and studded with tiny holes only a few hundred nm in size. The holes are arranged to trap vibrations from a piezoelectric interface and couple them to infrared light. Povey makes the resonators in sets of 50–100, all nestled on a 1 cm square chip. He says it takes about two days to make one chip-full of resonators.
Credit: Rhys Povey
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