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Title: A single-photon source based on a lateral n-i-p junction driven by a surface acoustic wave
Author: Hsiao, Tzu-Kan
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2018
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Single-photon sources are essential building blocks in quantum photonic networks, where quantum-mechanical properties of photons are utilised to achieve quantum technologies such as quantum cryptography and quantum computing. In this thesis, a single-photon source driven by a surface acoustic wave (SAW) is developed and characterised. This single-photon source is based on a SAW-driven lateral n-i-p junction in a GaAs quantum-well structure. On this device, the lateral n-i-p junction is formed by gate-induced electrons and holes in two adjacent regions. The SAW potential minima create dynamic quantum dots in a 1D channel between these two regions, and are able to transport single electrons to the region of holes along the channel. Single-photon emission can therefore be generated as these electrons consecutively recombine with holes. After characterisation and optimisation in four batches of devices, clear SAW-driven charge transport and the corresponding electroluminescence (EL) can be observed on an optimised SAW-driven n-i-p junction. Time-resolved measurements have been carried out to study the dynamics of SAW-driven electrons. Time-resolved EL signals indicate that a packet of electrons is transported to the region of holes in each SAW minimum. In addition, the carrier lifetime of SAW-driven electrons in the region of holes is shown to be $\sim 100$ ps, which is much shorter than the SAW period of $860$ ps. Hence, it is promising to observe single-photon emission in the optimised device. In order to test single-photon emission, a Hanbury Brown-Twiss experimental setup has been employed to record an autocorrelation histogram of the SAW-driven EL signal at the single-electron regime. Suppression of autocorrelation coincidences at time delay $\Delta t = 0$ is evidence of photon antibunching. By fitting theoretical functions describing the SAW-driven EL signal, it is found that the second-order correlation function shows $g^{(2)}(0) = 0.39 \pm 0.05$, which is lower than the common criterion for a single-photon source $g^{(2)}(0) < 0.5$. Moreover, theoretical calculation and simulation suggest that, if a constant background signal can be filtered out, $\sim 80 \%$ of the SAW-driven EL is single-photon emission.
Supervisor: Ford, Chris Sponsor: Cambridge Overseas Trust ; Taiwan Government
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: surface acoustic wave ; single-photon source ; quantum information ; quantum computing ; undoped GaAs quantum well ; lateral n-i-p junction