Quantum Dot Micromaser

Web Published:

Quantum Dot Micromaser

Docket # 14-3032

Solid-state superconducting circuits are versatile systems in which quantum states can be engineered and controlled. Recent progress in this area has opened up exciting possibilities for exploring fundamental physics as well as applications in quantum information technology. In a series of experiments it was shown that such circuits can be exploited to generate quantum optical phenomena by designing superconducting elements as artificial atoms that are coupled coherently to the photon field of a resonator.


Researchers in the Department of Physics at Princeton University have demonstrated a micromaser that is driven by single electron tunneling events. The maser operates at a frequency of ~8 GHz and has a gain of ~1000. The frequency range of the maser can be tuned through the design of the microwave cavity. In contrast with conventional masers, the system can be operated at low temperatures due to the extremely small power dissipation in the device, P < 2 pW.



·         Useful for the generation of coherent microwave photons


·         Useful for the creation of compact microwave amplifiers that operate at cryogenic temperatures


·         Suitable for end-uses including chemical sensing



·         Maser based on semiconductor quantum dots


·         Inexpensive source of coherent photons for quantum computing applications


·         Low power dissipation


·         Electrically tunable


·         Operates at milli-Kelvin temperatures


Conventional lasers and masers consist of many atoms that are weakly coupled to a cavity owing to the tiny size of natural atoms. Nevertheless, by using a tightly confined cavity mode, coherent interaction of a single atom and the cavity can be achieved: the atom–cavity interaction time becomes shorter than the photon lifetime or the atom coherence time. Such a strong coupling regime results in a qualitatively new feature: the vanishing of the pumping threshold that has been experimentally realized in single-atom masers and lasers. On the other hand, quantum systems with artificial atoms allow one to easily make the interaction time much shorter than the coherence time, as has been demonstrated recently. Furthermore, controllable interaction with a single cavity mode together with a fast mechanism of population inversion gives the possibility of realizing a lasing regime with many photons generated by one and the same atom.



Jason Petta is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics at Princeton University. His group’s research focuses on the transport properties of nanoscale quantum materials. Semiconductor quantum dots are used to isolate single electron spins, which exhibit long quantum coherence times. These systems allow quantum mechanics to be harnessed in a solid state environment for the implementation of elementary quantum gates. Research on semiconductor and topological insulator nanowires aims to explore the interplay of quantized electrical, optical, and mechanical degrees of freedom. Professor Petta is a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, NSF Career Award, and Army Research Office Young Investigator Award. Professor Petta received the 2007 McMillan Award, 2006 Newcomb Cleveland Prize, and 2006 Lee-Osheroff-Richardson prize for pioneering experiments involving quantum manipulation of charge and spin in solid state devices. He holds a Ph.D. in physics from Cornell University (2003).


Yinyu Liu is graduate student in the Department of Physics at Princeton University.


Intellectual Property Status

Patent protection is pending.

Princeton is seeking industrial collaborators for the further development and commercialization of this opportunity.  


Michael Tyerech

Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing • (609) 258-6762• tyerech@princeton.edu

Laurie Bagley

Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing • (609) 258-5579• lbagley@princeton.edu





Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Michael Tyerech
former Princeton Sr. Licensing Associate
Princeton University
Jason Petta
Yinyu Liu