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Sparrow Quantum Takes Flight to Commercialize Light-Matter Interface Technology.

Sparrow quantum team

Insider Brief

  • Sparrow Quantum is positioning itself to become a market leader in quantum light-matter interfaces for commercial quantum technologies.
  • Sparrow Quantum’s technology is undepinned by 20 years of pioneering research projects conducted with his quantum photonics research group at the renowned Niels Bohr Institute (NBI).
  • Critical Quote: “Sparrow Quantum’s technology is rooted in more than two decades of research, which has given us a deep understanding of the system’s physics. This understanding has translated into the development of devices with exceptional specifications in terms of the quality of the emitted light particles. Our company is widely recognized as a leader in single-photon sources, and we have demonstrated the world’s highest light-matter coupling efficiency.” — Kurt Stokbro, CEO of Sparrow Quantum

While it may appear to be a recent development, Sparrow Quantum is actually the culmination of decades of extensive fundamental research into quantum dot sources with a solid-state single photon source and light-matter interfaces, according to the company’s founders.

Professor Peter Lodahl, who now serves as Sparrow Quantum’s chief science officer, initiated the research into what would become Sparrow Quantum’s technology more than 20 years ago through a series of pioneering research projects conducted with his quantum photonics research group at the renowned Niels Bohr Institute (NBI) in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Lodahl, who currently heads the Hybrid Quantum Networks Hy-Q Center of Excellence, was at that time studying the control of light emission using intricate photonic nanostructures. What started out as fundamental research began to reveal commercial possibilities, particularly as the quantum technologies market began to mature.

“Eventually, we started to see that we have an extremely promising building block, which is this deterministic source of single photons,” said Lodahl. “In other words, this is a source where you push a button, and out comes a photon. The qubit quality, i.e., the fidelity of the photons we generate, is very high. This result comes from a deep physical understanding of the system and implementing it in the lab. We are seeing more and more that this deterministic light-matter interface can now serve as the foundation of a range of applications.”

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The goal of the company, which was officially founded by Lodahl in 2015, is as simple as it is ambitious: To become the market leader in quantum light-matter interfaces for commercial quantum technologies.

The Sparrow Quantum team is making progress on that goal by putting a product on the market for researchers right now and engaging with companies that will make up their growing customer base, such as vendors and providers of photonic quantum computing systems, as well as quantum communication and quantum internet companies.

Right now, the company’s flagship product is an on-chip single-photon source that provides long strings of more than 100 single photons without any loss in quality. The device can emit more than 20 million single photons per second into an optical fiber, which can be deployed by customers directly for applications such as photonic quantum computing, quantum simulations, or quantum communications experiments.

“As a component supplier, our light-matter interfaces are integral to the commercial quantum stack,” said Lodahl. “While our ultimate goal is to provide components for commercial quantum computing and communications systems, we currently serve the research community as our initial customer base.”

Sparrow Advantages
According to Lodahl, Sparrow Quantum equipment offers distinct advantages for its clients.
Perhaps the most important advantage is the decades of fundamental research and years of experience applying the technology for commercial use. This experience provides a solid foundation of knowledge, expertise, and best practices that can be leveraged to optimize and improve the technology for real-world applications.

The expertise that has been gained working with hardware and quantum materials development can be leveraged for optimizing the system’s performance and scalability for applications such as quantum repeaters, quantum internet, and quantum computing, according to Kurt Stokbro, CEO of Sparrow Quantum.

“Sparrow Quantum’s technology is rooted in more than two decades of research, which has given us a deep understanding of the system’s physics,” said Stokbro. “This understanding has translated into the development of devices with exceptional specifications in terms of the quality of the emitted light particles. Our company is widely recognized as a leader in single-photon sources, and we have demonstrated the world’s highest light-matter coupling efficiency.”

The company also has created a deep understanding of developing architectures, providing a reliable and efficient platform for implementing quantum technologies.

“We have always been very serious about the architectures,” said Lodahl. “We’re very serious about finding out how the technology scales up – how do we construct quantum repeaters based on deterministic photon-emitter interfaces? How about a full-fletched quantum internet? Or a fault-tolerant photonic quantum computer? – that really requires a lot of theoretical understanding of the hardware also in order to understand how to scale up the technology in the most resource-efficient manner.”

The structure of Sparrow Quantum’s technology, itself, is another advantage, according to Stokbro.

“One important detail of our technology is that it’s planar, compared to other single photon sources that are emitting vertically,” said Stokbro. “The planar structure gives you some extra possibilities to integrate other features onto the chip. For instance, you can do filtering at the chip level, as well as integrate more components.”

Sparrow Quantum has other geographic advantages.

“In Denmark, we’re very, very strong in interfacing theory with the hardware development,” said Lodahl. “Also, quantum materials development is in a strong position in this ecosystem, and we can use this expertise in a powerful manner,” said Lodahl.

Denmark is also home to a burgeoning quantum ecosystem, which would help Sparrow Quantum’s growth. Taking this a step further, Sparrow Quantum benefits from Denmark’s position as a crossroads of pharmaceutical and life sciences research, which are fields that many experts expect will be enhanced by quantum computing.

Sparrow Quantum’s Vision
Based on these advantages, company officials are convinced in their vision of becoming the market leader in light-matter interfaces. They also see a path forward to achieve that goal.

Stokbro sees the initial low-hanging fruit is to provide a high-quality single-photon source for the research community and also for quantum simulation of quantum computing systems – and beyond.

“In the long run, though, there will be a need for light-matter interfaces for the quantum internet, to connect quantum computers together.”

Sparrow Quantum’s immediate steps to realize that vision is to find the right people with complementary expertise so they are competitive in this highly technical field. They also believe in creating real, sustainable value in their products so that their customers and clients can achieve their own goals.

Sparrow Quantum recently announced a 31 million DKK — about $4.9 million US —  seed founding round.

For more information, navigate to Sparrow Quantum’s website.

If you found this article to be informative, you can explore more current quantum news here, exclusives, interviews, and podcasts.

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Matt Swayne

With a several-decades long background in journalism and communications, Matt Swayne has worked as a science communicator for an R1 university for more than 12 years, specializing in translating high tech and deep tech for the general audience. He has served as a writer, editor and analyst at The Quantum Insider since its inception. In addition to his service as a science communicator, Matt also develops courses to improve the media and communications skills of scientists and has taught courses. [email protected]

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The Future of Materials Discovery: Reducing R&D Costs significantly with GenMat’s AI and Machine Learning Tools

When: July 13, 2023 at 11:30am

What: GenMat Webinar

Picture of Jake Vikoren

Jake Vikoren

Company Speaker

Picture of Deep Prasad

Deep Prasad

Company Speaker

Picture of Araceli Venegas

Araceli Venegas

Company Speaker

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