Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

NIST-on-a-Chip: Quantum Optics and Radiometry

Radiometry based on quantum phenomena, frequency synthesis in the optical spectrum, and precision optical measurements of physical properties are fast-expanding and highly promising research fields in the NIST-on-a-Chip (NoaC) program. 

Chip-based Radiometers and Detectors 

bolometers
Credit: NIST
Four solar-irradiance bolometers without NACNTs.
Sensors devised and demonstrated by NoaC scientists are making possible high-accuracy optical power measurements ranging from extremely faint, single-photon sources to the irradiance of the sun on orbiting satellites to the output of high-energy lasers. Parallel programs are devoted to advanced designs for single-photon and photon-counting detectors, as well as sources for single photons that can be used for robust on-chip calibration of single photon properties. 

Research includes: quantum-based bolometers both with and without vertically aligned carbon nanotubes; on-chip, efficient quantum light sources and quantum circuits using quantum dots; and scalable, light-controlled, on-chip gates for quantum information processing.

Among the program’s goals is development of embedded standard radiometers for satellites.  

READ MORE

Chip-scale Laser Frequency Combs

resonator soliton
Credit: NIST
Schematic of soliton propagation in a resonator.

resonators
Credit: NIST
Chip-scale resonators.
The ability to precisely synthesize microwave frequencies has had a titanic impact on American technology and commerce. 

Now synthesizing optical frequencies (100,000 times higher) holds an equivalent promise for advanced communications and computing; remote sensing and ranging; a new generation of clocks with 100x improved precision; non-invasive medical diagnostics; and more. NoaC research has achieved a scientific breakthrough for optical frequency synthesis: the use of Kerr micro-resonator combs, tiny ring-shaped structures often called microcombs, that offer unprecedented precision in chip-scale, low-power devices. 

READ MORE

Cavity optomechanics for measurements of force and mass

optical system
Credit: NIST
Optical system for measuring extremely small displacement.

For centuries, mass and force measurements have been made using gravitational force acting on a physical mass. But that scheme is extremely difficult to scale up or down as necessary in the modern world. NIST is exploring a new physical process: photon pressure, the force that light exerts on material when it reflects off its surface. 

NIST-on-a-Chip researchers are using photon pressure and other techniques to create devices that are compact, highly sensitive, and self-calibrating, and could be readily embedded into existing manufactured goods. 

READ MORE

Contacts

Created July 10, 2018, Updated November 15, 2019