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Single organic molecules for photonic quantum technologies

Organic molecules unveil a brighter future for quantum technology!

by Guy Molénat - published on

Beyond fundamental physics, quantum mechanics is nowaday a fertile ground for breakthrough technologies in information science and high precision measurements, evidenced by the huge investments being made across the globe in this area. But what are the ideal material platforms providing such technologies? This is still an open question for both private and public investors, while also for researchers and engineers.

In this review article published in Nature Materials, we discuss the prominent impact of organic molecules in quantum technologies as a result of over 20 years of active investigation. This work, authored by 16 scientists from 7 different countries, including André Gourdon from CEMES, analyses the close synergy between molecules and photons – particles of light. 

Single organic fluorophores can be used as transducers in sensors, single photon sources for communication, and non-linear elements in optical computing


The recent advances in controlling this interaction at the level of single quanta will be the key transduction mechanism for optically reading the charge of a single electron or a single quantum of mechanical vibration. Light generated by single organic molecules can carry intrinsically secure information, one photon at a time, propagating unperturbed over long distances. Considering the extreme versatility and scalability of organic synthesis, which can provide, at low costs, a wide palette of properties, a new flexible way of building hybrid quantum devices is possible. The authors envision small hybrid optical networks on microchips that carry light instead of electricity, where photons and molecules together can perform certain tasks that are computationally hard for classical machines.


Single organic molecules for photonic quantum technologies

C. Toninelli , I. Gerhardt, A. S. Clark, A. Reserbat-Plantey, S. Götzinger, Z. Ristanović, M. Colautti, P. Lombardi, K. D. Major, I. Deperasińska, W. H. Pernice , F. H. L. Koppens, B. Kozankiewicz, A. Gourdon, V. Sandoghdar and M. Orrit

Nature Materials (2021) https://doi.org/10.1038/s41563-021-00987-4

Contact: André Gourdon, andre.gourdon [at] cemes.fr