New Photonic Chip for Isolating Light May Be Key to Miniaturizing Quantum Technology

On-chip optical isolators for 780 nm and 1550 nm wavelengths, fabricated in lithium niobate at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Credit: Ogulcan Orsel

Light offers an irreplaceable way to interact with our universe. It can travel across galactic distances and collide with our atmosphere, creating a shower of particles that tell a story of past astronomical events. Here on earth, controlling light lets us send data from one side of the planet to the other.
Given its broad utility, it’s no surprise that light plays a critical role in enabling 21st century quantum information applications. For example, scientists use laser light …