Integrated Optics: 50 years old, but still open minded for new horizons – and thus gold!

This year we can celebrate the 50th anniversary of “Integrated Optics”. In 1969, Stewart Miller published the article “Integrated Optics: An Introduction” in “The Bell System Technical Journal” which provided the foundation of many modern photonic devices. In his vision, he outlined the possibilities to integrate miniaturized forms of lasers, modulators and hybrids and integrate them to form compact optical circuits.

In the past decades, numerous integrated optical circuits have been demonstrated. They have found a wide range of applications. Especially, modern optical telecommunication wouldn’t be possible without integrated optical devices.  But this is not the end of a success story.

The upcoming second quantum revolution is at the heart of technological advances in our century. And integrated optics will play a key role to establish the photonic quantum technologies. Present demonstrations of the new quantum optical technologies are performed in well-equipped labs operated by highly skilled scientist and engineers. To pave the way towards practical applications, however, a miniaturization is definitely required. Specific optical circuits monolithically integrated to quantum systems-on chip will enable to transfer the technologies out of the lab to customers – and ultimately be economical.

The UNIQORN project exactly aims to develop such integrated quantum systems-on-chip and proves their applicability in real-world demonstrators. In this way, UNIQORN will strongly benefit from the first 50 years of integrated optics, but UNIQORN will also foster the future progress of integrated optics in the new quantum optics era.