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Quantum Optics and Biosensors

Hitachi Cambridge Laboratory

Artist's impression of open magneto-optical cavity (left), E-jet printed lines on photonic crystal surface (centre) and principle of biosensing using optical resonances (right).


    We have an extensive optics lab where we explore optical technology for both quantum optics, and biosensing applications. Our research currently focuses on spin-photon interfaces based on cavity optomagnonics, and defects in wide band-gap semiconductors such as diamond, SiC, and hexagonal boron nitride. In the biosensors theme, high resolution printers are used to print biomolecules on photonic crystal structures.


Quantum Optics


    Recently, a number of cloud based quantum computers operating at low temperatures are now available to users. As the technology develops, users may desire a fully encrypted service so their data and programs are safe from hackers armed with quantum computers, and ultimately the service provider themselves. Such a framework requires a number of quantum optical devices such as spin to microwave, and microwave to optical transducers; and memories to buffer quantum information. Within this theme, we are pursuing a number of projects:


  • Cavity Optomagnonics (Dr. J. Haigh) :

        Traditionally, spin-photon interfaces are based on a single spin with Purcell-enhanced coupling to an optical cavity. Here we explore the use of the collective spin of a ferromagnet, where the magneto-optical effects are further enhanced by an optical cavity. So far, weak conversion of microwaves to optical regime enhanced by a cavity has been shown [1, 2, 3, 4]. The work is funded by EU H2020 project "Hybrid Opto-mechanical Technologies".

  • Hexagonal Boron Nitride (Dr. A. Ramsay) :

        Hexagonal boron nitride is a two-dimensional insulator. Recently, colour centers in hBN have been shown to exhibit single photon emission up to 800 degC. We are studying these defects to assess their suitability for room temperature quantum optics applications, and understand if the low dimensionality is beneficial for the coherence properties of this material [5]. This work is done in collaboration with Dr. Isaac Luxmoore, an EPSRC innovation fellow.

  • Silicon Carbide (Dr. A. Ramsay) :

        Silicon carbide has spin properties comparable to diamond, but in a material that is widely used in power electronics application such as in the electric car and 5G industries. We are currently studying the spin properties of defects in SiC for potential application as quantum memory devices, and sensor applications.


Biosensing with inkjet printing technology (Dr. F. Brossard)


    The ability to monitor biological markers on a chip without requiring sample manipulation by specialists has the potential to revolutionize healthcare by providingtest results at the point-of-care, thus drastically reducing the waiting time and resulting stress for patients.The use of compact biomolecular sensors could also greatly boost home monitoring and give patients with chronic diseases an immediate feedback, cutting down on the need for them to see a medical doctor and thus freeing care time for patients in need of immediate attention. The mature manufacturing process of the silicon industry has enabled the large-scale fabrication of high-quality devices for photonics applications and recently been successfully applied to produce some of the most complex optical nanostructures [6]. Such devices have demonstrated great sensitivity to small changes in their environment, opening the door for label-free on chip biosensing [7] using a handheld apparatus such as a smartphone [8]. In parallel, the rapid development of inkjet printing as a non-contact and low-cost deposition method has recently been applied for the creation of protein and DNA arrays at the nanoscale [9] thus demonstrating its great potential in biosensing applications requiring high density arrays with limited volume of analyte available.The combination of high resolution inkjet printing with silicon nanophotonics could result in label-free on-chip biosensors with unprecedented multiplexing capabilities. Research at the Hitachi Cambridge Laboratory is focused on the inkjet printing of biomolecules and hydrogels and the design and measurements of photonic devices for label-free biosensing and the study of cell-cell communication.


References :

  1. J. A. Haigh, A. Nunnenkamp, A. J. Ramsay, and A. J. Ferguson, Phys. Rev. Lett. 117 133602 (2017) Triple-Resonant Brillouin Light Scattering in Magneto-Optical Cavities
  2. J. A. Haigh, S. Langenfeld, N. J. Lambert, J. J. Baumberg, A. J. Ramsay, A. Nunnenkamp, and A. J. Ferguson, Phys. Rev. A 92, 063845 (2015) Magneto-optical coupling in whispering-gallery-mode resonators
  3. J. A. Haigh, N. J. Lambert, S. Sharma, Y. M. Blanter, G. E. W. Bauer, and A. J. Ramsay, Phys. Rev. B 97, 214423 (2018) Selection rules for cavity-enhanced Brillouin light scattering from magnetostatic modes
  4. L. McKenzie-Sell, J. Xie, C.-M. Lee, J. W. A. Robinson, C. Ciccarelli, and J. A. Haigh, Phys. Rev. B 99, 140414(R) (2019) Low-impedance superconducting microwave resonators for strong coupling to small magnetic mode volumes
  5. P. Khatri, I. J. Luxmoore, A. J. Ramsay, ArXiv: 1903.01751 (2019) Phonon sidebands of color centers in hexagonal boron nitride
  6. Y. Ooka, T. Tetsumoto, A. Fushimi, W. Yoshiki and T. Tanabe, Sci. Rep. 5, 11312 (2015) CMOS compatible high-Q photonic crystal nanocavity fabricated with photolithography on silicon photonic platform
  7. X. Fan, I. M. White, S. I. Shopova, H. Zhu, J. D. Suter, Y. Sun, Anal Chim Acta. 620,1-2,pp 8-26 (2008) Sensitive optical biosensors for unlabeled targets: a review
  8. D. Gallegos,K. D. Long, H. Yu, P. P. Clark, Y. Lin, S. George, P. Natha and B. T. Cunningham, Lab on chip, 11, 2124-2132 (2013) Label-free biodetection using a smartphone
  9. J.-U. Park, J. H. Lee, U. Paik, Y. Lu and J. A. Rogers, Nano Lett., 8 (12), pp 4210-4216 (2008) Nanoscale patterns of oligonucleotides formed by electrohydrodynamic jet printing with applications in biosensing and nanomaterials assembly


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