The Photonic Nanomaterials research line has been opened in January 2020 at Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia. This new research line focuses on the development of light sources employing nanomaterials such as colloidal nanocrystals.
Colloidal nanocrystals demonstrate advantageous properties for the fabrication of both classical light sources, and single-photon emitters relevant for quantum technologies. Despite the latter property, nanocrystals have mainly being employed in light-emitting diodes (LEDs) of relatively large size (few hundred microns in area). In fact, LEDs based on nanocrystal films show good performance in terms of efficiency and luminance, but their applicability is still limited to standard consumer electronics products (illumination and displays). Interestingly, a single isolated nanocrystal displays single-photon emission, a desirable property for application in quantum technologies. Such property has been studied in detail using optical excitation. Yet, the challenge is to exploit single-photon emission from a nanocrystal under electrical excitation, but this requires the development of complex fabrication tools and methods for device preparation.
The Photonic Nanomaterials research line aims at developing light-emitting diodes based on nanocrystal films as well as individual colloidal nanocrystals, thus paving the way to novel electrically driven single-photon sources.