Research highlight

Generating light from single molecules at room temperature

Nature Communications

January 18, 2012

The emission of single photons from single molecules in an organic LED at room temperature is reported in Nature Communications this week. The results offer a route to practical single photon devices for quantum computing or quantum optics. Quantum information technology relies on single photon emitters and detectors, and in order to function with devices this behaviour needs to be electrically controlled. While several schemes already exist, they all require cryogenic temperatures to operate. However, organic compounds have large binding energies, allowing them to maintain single photon behaviour as their temperature increases. Maximillian Nothaft and colleagues used iridium-based molecules in polymers to demonstrate emission of light from single molecules at room temperature. This took place both after applying an electric field to the device and stimulating it with laser light. Such high-temperature operation makes these organic LEDs viable for real-world integration of quantum technologies.

doi: 10.1038/ncomms1637

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