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Enabling new opportunities in quantum technologies

Advanced measurements unravel nanoscale phenomena.

1 minute read

Semiconductor 2D materials are a few atoms thick, and some of them exhibit localised emission, where light is emitted from such a small part of the layer that only one photon at a time is produced. This localised emission has unique properties and is vital to new quantum technologies especially in optoelectronic and quantum device applications. 

Research has shown that stretching a 2D material called tungsten diselenide can result in localised emission, many efforts have sought to create nanostructures with the maximum strain in the layer. However, advanced measurements at NPL indicate that bending the material can have a similar effect. 

In recently published work, scientists at NPL propose that curvature of 2D material resulting from wrinkles in the 2D layer is a better way to engineer the properties. 

The effects of stretching and bending are not always easy to distinguish, but by combining advanced measurement techniques, their results show that this alternative paradigm is a promising route towards room-temperature quantum light sources. 

Curvature is much easy to engineer than stretching strain and so this result could accelerate progress towards low-cost quantum technologies. 

 NPL is currently working with groups in the UK and Brazil to do quantum chemical modelling and further experimental work to test the proposed paradigm and develop the theoretical understanding of how geometric curvature results in localised emission in monolayer tungsten diselenide. 


Department Head of Science, Professor Fernando Castro said: “This work is a great example of how bringing together teams with expertise in different areas of materials and measurement science has resulted in a new way of understanding localised emission in advanced 2D materials semiconductors, opening new opportunities for optoelectronics and quantum applications.” 

Npl's science team for this study is Sebastian Wood, Tom Vincent, Vivian Tong, Alessandro Catanzaro, Yameng Cao and Olga Kazakova.

Find out more about Fernando Castro

Find out more about Sebastian Wood

Find out more about Olga Kazakova

Find out more about Yameng Cao

07 Feb 2024