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Quantum LED to bridge industry gap

14 October 2020

Anthony Bennett
Professor Anthony Bennett

A Cardiff University professor has won a five-year fellowship to develop a revolutionary new technology with applications in secure communications and advanced imaging systems.

The £1M award from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) will allow Professor Anthony Bennett to build a collaborative research team dedicated to developing a room temperature quantum light sources – a key component for future technologies.

By harnessing the behaviour of individual particles, quantum technology offers a range of future advances in fields including computing and remote sensing.

Other potential applications include ultra-secure communications, where security is assured by the laws of physics, and imaging, where ultrasensitive detectors can ‘look’ through walls or around corners to form an image in hostile conditions.

Professor Bennett, from the School of Engineering said: “This is a hugely exciting opportunity that will use existing expertise in manufacturing LEDs on Gallium Nitride, a semiconductor material which dominates the market for energy efficient ambient lighting, to make a quantum-light at exceptionally low marginal cost.”

The fellowship will allow Professor Bennett to apply industrial research experience gained at Toshiba to develop a novel device, using Cardiff’s Institute for Compound Semiconductors (ICS).

Professor Peter Smowton, Managing Director, ICS, said: “Professor Bennett blends stellar research expertise with commercial experience. This collaboration provides the ideal framework to bridge the gap to industry, delivering high impact research that can build a platform for future UK prosperity and technological know-how.”

Through the Fellowship, the Cambridge Centre for Gallium Nitride and Cardiff’s Compound Semiconductor Centre will grow material, which will be processed in Cardiff University. Novel Packaging will be developed in collaboration with the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult (CSA Catapult), part of the CSconnected Compound Semiconductor cluster in South Wales.

Joe Gannicliffe, Head of Photonics at CSA Catapult, said: “We are delighted to be working with Professor Bennett on a new wave of semiconductor quantum technologies that are finding commercial applications in ultra-secure communications, enhanced imaging, sensing, and possibly even computing and simulations.”

Professor Bennett, a specialist in developing compound semiconductor technologies, recently co-authored a paper published in the journal ACS Photonics outlining the discovery of a room-temperature quantum emitter embedded deep within the band gap of aluminium nitride.

“My ambition is to harness the ‘quantum advantage’ by creating a scalable, practical and efficient source of quantum light, working with collaborators to develop applications that realise the full potential of the technology.”

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