Toshiba
Europe Region

Main Menu

 

Committed to People, Committed to the Future. Toshiba

Toshiba Research Europe Ltd., Cambridge Research Laboratory

New light source illuminates path to ultra powerful computers

3 June 2010, Cambridge, UK

• First simple, voltage powered device for producing entangled light

• Breakthrough could lead to semiconductor chips for quantum computing

Fifty years after the discovery of the laser, scientists in Cambridge have invented a novel type of light source, which could again revolutionise data processing, communications and storage applications. The Entangled Light Emitting Diode, which is the result of collaboration between Toshiba Research Europe Limited and the Cavendish Laboratory of the University of Cambridge, will be reported today in the scientific journal Nature.

Dr Andrew Shields, who directs this work at Toshiba Research Europe, commented, “Although entangled light has been produced previously by shining an intense laser beam on crystals, the new simple device is the first voltage-powered source. The discovery is significant because it will allow electrical addressing of many entangled light emitters on a single chip, opening the path to ultra-powerful semiconductor processors based on quantum computation.”

The new light source is based upon similar semiconductor Light Emitting Diode technology to that used in computer indicator lamps, traffic lights and modern household lighting and so is suitable for mass manufacture. It could therefore allow compact, cheap entangled emitters to be produced in the future and thus enable new applications that exploit the quantum properties of light.

In contrast to conventional LEDs, the entangled LED contains a tiny nanometer-scale region of semiconductor, called a quantum dot, which converts electrical current into entangled light. Dr Mark Stevenson, Senior Research Scientist on the project, explained, “For successful operation it was essential to optimise the thickness of the semiconductor material surrounding the quantum dot to control the supply of current to the dot. In addition the properties of the dot itself had to be carefully tailored to produce entangled emission.”

Entangled light is a key ingredient in a quantum computer, a machine with massive processing power that will be able to solve problems that are virtually intractable otherwise, such as modelling new pharmaceuticals or materials. Other applications of entangled light include extending the range of secure communication systems based on quantum cryptography and increasing the storage capacity of optical disks.

About Toshiba

Toshiba is a world leader and innovator in pioneering high technology, a diversified manufacturer and marketer of advanced electronic and electrical products spanning information & communications systems; digital consumer products; electronic devices and components; power systems, including nuclear energy; industrial and social infrastructure systems; and home appliances.

Toshiba was founded in 1875, and today operates a global network of more than 740 companies, with 204,000 employees worldwide and annual sales surpassing 6.3 trillion yen (US$68 billion). Visit Toshiba's web site at www.toshiba.co.jp/index.htm.

About Toshiba Research Europe Ltd

Toshiba Corporation is fully committed to the research and development of future technologies. This commitment has resulted in Toshiba having a record number of world firsts, including the first laptop PC (1985), the first single chip MPEG4 videophone LSI (1998) and the first DVD player (Oct. 1996). Over the 3 years to end March 2010, the Corporation anticipates a total global R&D expenditure of JPY1,290bn.

Toshiba Corporation established its first overseas research centre in 1991, with the opening of Toshiba Cambridge Research Centre Ltd in the UK. This was renamed Toshiba Research Europe Ltd (TREL) in August 1998, when a new telecommunications laboratory in Bristol was launched. TREL now has two research laboratories in the UK; the Cambridge Research Laboratory (CRL) in Cambridge, and Telecommunications Research Laboratory (TRL) in Bristol.

 

Further Information:
Entangled-Light-Emittting Diode

Associated publication:
C L Salter et al., Nature, 465, 594–597 (2010)

 
 
Link to Quantum Information Group - Quantum Cryptography Solutions for Network Security
Link to Speech Technology Group
Link to Toshiba Fellowship Programme - Join Toshiba's R&D team in Japan for up to two years
Terms and ConditionsPrivacy Policy Copyright TOSHIBA Corporation, All Rights Reserved.