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2D-based single photon emitters integrated with CMOS-compatible Silicon Nitride waveguides

Daniel Nenni

Staff member
Researchers from imec, Ghent University and MIT provide a promising route to scalable quantum photonics

Leuven, Ghent (BELGIUM), October 8, 2019 – Researchers from the Photonics Research Group, an imec research group at Ghent university and MIT announced that they have integrated single photon emitters in 2D layered materials with a Silicon Nitride photonic chip. Even for moderate quantum yields, dielectric cavities could be designed such that the single photon extraction into the guided mode can reach unity. The results published in Nature Communications, provide a crucial step in fundamental quantum photonics and 2D materials research.

Photonic integrated circuits (PICs) enable the miniaturization of complex quantum optical circuits connecting large numbers of photonic devices with optimized insertion losses and phase stability. A central building block for such an integrated quantum circuit is a single photon emitter (SPE), and a variety of material systems have been investigated to create such on-chip SPEs. 2D-based SPEs have some unique properties that make them particularly appealing for integration with PICs. First, they can be easily interfaced with PICs and stacked together to create complex heterostructures. Second, due to their thinness, and the absence of total internal reflection, they enable very high light extraction efficiencies without the need of any additional processing, allowing efficient single photon transfer between the host and the underlying PIC. Third, 2D materials grown with high wafer-scale uniformity are becoming more readily available.

Through nanoscale strain engineering, the team coupled 2D-based SPEs with a CMOS-compatible Silicon Nitride waveguide. Moreover, they extracted crucial performance parameters for this source and used them in an optimization analysis to maximize single photon extraction and indistinguishability into the guided mode. It was found that even for moderate quantum yields, dielectric cavities could be designed such that the single photon extraction into the guided mode can reach unity.
“These results provide a crucial step in scaling up quantum photonic devices using 2D-based integrated single photon sources,” stated Frédéric Peyskens, first author of the paper.
Hanne Degans
press communications manager - imec
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2D monolayer on a SiN waveguide. Red shaded areas: positions of single photon emitters curve: experimental confirmation of single photon emission.

About imec
Imec is a world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies. The combination of our widely acclaimed leadership in microchip technology and profound software and ICT expertise is what makes us unique. By leveraging our world-class infrastructure and local and global ecosystem of partners across a multitude of industries, we create groundbreaking innovation in application domains such as healthcare, smart cities and mobility, logistics and manufacturing, energy and education.

As a trusted partner for companies, start-ups and universities we bring together more than 4,000 brilliant minds from over 97 nationalities. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and has distributed R&D groups at a number of Flemish universities, in the Netherlands, Taiwan, USA, and offices in China, India and Japan. In 2018, imec's revenue (P&L) totaled 583 million euro. Further information on imec can be found at

Imec is a registered trademark for the activities of IMEC International (a legal entity set up under Belgian law as a "stichting van openbaar nut”), imec Belgium (IMEC vzw supported by the Government of Flanders), imec the Netherlands (Stichting IMEC Nederland, part of Holst Centre which is supported by the Dutch Government), imec Taiwan (IMEC Taiwan Co.), imec China (IMEC Microelectronics (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.), imec India (Imec India Private Limited) and imec Florida (IMEC USA nanoelectronics design center).

About Photonics Research Group
The Photonics Research Group in the Department of Information Technology of Ghent University is an associated lab of imec and performs research in the field of photonic integration – more specifically silicon photonics – and its applications in information and communication technology, in sensing and in life sciences. With its 80 researchers the group has a leading international role in the field and is also very active in graduate education in photonics and in industrial spin-off resulting from its research. More information can be found at