NASA STTR 2020-II Solicitation

Proposal Summary

Proposal Information

Proposal Number:
20-2- T8.06-5681
Phase 1 Contract #:
Subtopic Title:
Quantum Sensing and Measurement
Proposal Title:
On-Demand Single-Photon Sources for Correlated Calibration of Single Photon Detectors
Nanohmics, Inc.
6201 East Oltorf Street, Suite 400
Austin, TX  78741 - 7509
Phone: (512) 389-9990
The University of Texas at Dallas
800 West Campbell Road
Richardson, TX  75080 - 4551
Phone: (972) 883-6383

Principal Investigator (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)

Steve Savoy
6201 East Oltorf Street, Suite 400, Austin, TX 78741 - 7509
(512) 389-9990

Business Official (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)

Mike Mayo
6201 East Oltorf Street, Suite 400, Austin, TX 78741 - 7509
(512) 389-9990
Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) :
Begin: 3
End: 5
Technical Abstract (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)

Single-photon counting techniques using single-photon detectors (SPDs) are needed in a variety of emerging quantum measurement and communication applications. To meet these needs, the development of ultrasensitive, high precision quantum sensing and measurement devices (i.e. not obtainable with classical methods) will play a key role in future NASA, commercial and other government communication and analysis systems. Nanohmics, Inc. and Prof. Anton Malko’s research group at the University of Texas at Dallas is to develop a laser-pump on-demand single-photon pair source based on biexciton cascade emission in semiconductor quantum dots for correlated calibration of SPDs. Relative to the approach of spontaneous parametric down-conversion in generating single-photon pairs, the proposed technology has advantages of on-demand photon pair generation, high efficiency, low-cost, and scalability. During Phase I, we demonstrated high biexciton cascade emission efficiency in single colloidal QDs nanocrystals and fabricated bullseye antenna to enhance photon emission of single QDs. During Phase II, we will integrate commercially available off-the-shelf optics and electronics and incorporate QD-bullseye hybrid structures to construct a prototype optical system to generate single-photon pairs and demonstrate correlated calibration of SPDs.

Potential NASA Applications (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)

The development of an integrated nanocrystal-based photon pair calibration source that is capable of direct correlated calibration of single-photon detectors has immediate applications in NASA’s ground- and space-based receiver, detection, and analysis systems using single-photon counting detectors such as the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) on the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat), Deep-Space Optical Communications (DSOC), and Space Communications and Navigation (SCAN).

Potential Non-NASA Applications (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)

The primary commercial sector customer base will be single-photon detector manufacturers for use in calibration systems. Key detector manufacturers include ID Quantique, Excelitas, Bruker Optics, Single Quantum, and Thorlabs. With a rise in new applications of single-photon detectors in quantum sensing, communication, and computing, unmet needs in the market are increasing new solution demand.

Duration: 24

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