Scalable, But Practical
One of the most exciting areas in quantum research these days is integrated quantum photonics.
Why is that? Simply put, it’s the technology’s ability to manufacture and manipulate the single particles of light we call photons in complex optical circuits, creating a situation where integrated photonics becomes the go-to approach developing scalable quantum technologies that are both cost-effective and practical.
To date, there are more than a dozen companies globally whose business model anticipates a future where light and photons will be the overriding technology guiding quantum computing (QC) and quantum information science (QIS): AegiQ, KETS Quantum Security, ORCA Computing, PsiQuantum, and Xanadu amongst them, though one company — with no particular focus on the QC industry right now but with a long tradition in photonics that realizes the future is obviously quantum — is Coherent, Inc. A company founded in 1966 by physicist James Hobart and five other cofounders that went public in 1970, Coherent has its headquarters in Santa Clara, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley. Using the power of light, the company is now one of the world’s premier laser/photonics manufacturers and innovators.
Coherent’s product line includes lasers for materials processing, scientific research, life sciences, instrumentation, and defence; cutting-edge laser subsystems, turnkey materials processing systems for cutting, welding, microstructuring, and marking; various components, as well as laser output measurement instruments for the lab and industrial process control.
And while the company’s quantum technologies’ IP doesn’t seem like a top priority at present, its range comprises powerful single-frequency lasers (Mephisto MOPA) used in the building of all-optical cold atom traps, as well as the Quantum EnergyMax sensor that enable low energy pulse measurements.
It’s only a matter of time, however, before the corporation with over fifty years in the laser and photonics business sees the clear potential the quantum technologies sector has and how its expertise can benefit both parties further down the line.
In charge of Coherent’s forward-thinking strategy is president and CEO, Andy Mattes, a US-German national. Hired in 2020 for the role, Mattes has significant experience managing and building global technology businesses in a number of roles over the last three decades. On his appointment, Mattes said:
“[…] I look forward to working closely with the Board and management to build upon the leading position Coherent has in the industry and to explore additional opportunities for Coherent’s leading-edge technology to drive growth and innovation.”
Whether Mattes and Coherent’s acuity equal a quantum horizon for the Silicon Valley-based corporation will be up to a whole host of factors that even TQD and other industry experts don’t care to comment on.