Combining LEDs and Superconductivity

Guest_Jim_* - March 20, 2014 07:15AM in Science & Technology

A number of quantum mechanical phenomena have the potential to reshape technology, once we are able to take advantage of them. Doing just that can be quite difficult though, as quantum systems can be very sensitive to outside interference, and this tends to restrict the scale the systems can be built at. Researchers at the University of Toronto though have found a way to bring one of these phenomena to the large scale by combining superconductivity and LEDs.

Light emitting diodes have the ability to convert the energy of excited electrons into photons, but these photons have no special quantum mechanical properties. By connecting LEDs to a superconductor however, the photons can be emitted as entangled pairs. Entanglement is phenomenon in which two particles are so strongly correlated that measuring one particle in a pair will tell you the properties of the other, no matter how distant it is. The part that superconductivity plays is providing Cooper pairs, which are pairs of coupled electrons that are necessary for superconductivity. If these electrons enter the LED, the emitted photons will be entangled just as the electrons were.

One catch for this discovery is that the LEDs have to use quantum wells for catching electrons and releasing photons. Even with that though, this could lead to improvements in light emission and the entangled photon emission could aid in developing many quantum technologies.

Source: University of Toronto