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2Physics Quote:
"Lasers are light sources with well-defined and well-manageable properties, making them an ideal tool for scientific research. Nevertheless, at some points the inherent (quasi-) monochromaticity of lasers is a drawback. Using a convenient converting phosphor can produce a broad spectrum but also results in a loss of the desired laser properties, in particular the high degree of directionality. To generate true white light while retaining this directionality, one can resort to nonlinear effects like soliton formation."
-- Nils W. Rosemann, Jens P. Eu├čner, Andreas Beyer, Stephan W. Koch, Kerstin Volz, Stefanie Dehnen, Sangam Chatterjee
(Read Full Article: "Nonlinear Medium for Efficient Steady-State Directional White-Light Generation"
)

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Entangled Memory

Jeff KimbleJeff Kimble [Photo courtesy: Caltech]

In a paper published in today's issue of the journal Nature, Caltech's Valentine Professor of Physics H. Jeff Kimble and his colleagues have laid the groundwork for a crucial step in quantum information science. They demonstrate for the first time an important capability required for the control of quantum information and quantum networks, namely the coherent conversion of photonic entanglement into and out of separated quantum memories.

Entanglement lies at the heart of quantum physics, and is a state where parts of a composite system are more strongly correlated than is possible for any classical counterparts regardless of the distance separating them. Entanglement is a critical resource for diverse applications in quantum information science, such as for quantum metrology, computation, and communication. Quantum networks rely on entanglement for the teleportation of quantum states from place to place.

Entanglement lies at the heart of quantum physics, and is a state where parts of a composite system are more strongly correlated than is possible for any classical counterparts regardless of the distance separating them. Entanglement is a critical resource for diverse applications in quantum information science, such as for quantum metrology, computation, and communication. Quantum networks rely on entanglement for the teleportation of quantum states from place to place.

In a quest to turn these abstract ideas into real laboratory systems and to distribute entanglement to remote locations (even on a continental scale), Kimble explains that quantum physicists have studied ways to propagate photonic information into and out of quantum memory using a system called a quantum repeater, invented in 1998 by H. Briegel, J.I. Cirac, and P. Zoller at the University of Innsbruck. Until now, work in Kimble's group on the realization of a quantum repeater with atomic ensembles relied upon the probabilistic creation of entanglement. In this setting entanglement between two clouds of atoms was generated probabilistically but with an unambiguous heralding event.

While such systems hold the potential for scalable quantum networks, it has been difficult for Kimble's Quantum Optics Group to apply such schemes to certain protocols necessary for quantum networks, such as entanglement connection. Now, with the new protocol and future improvements, "We can push a button and generate entanglement," says physics graduate student Kyung Soo Choi, one of four authors of the Caltech experiment.

Entangled Memory[Image Courtesy: Nature]

In the Caltech experiment, a single photon is first split, generating an entangled state of light with quantum amplitudes for the photon to propagate two distinct paths, taking both at once. The Caltech team in turn transcribed, or mapped, the entanglement onto distinct atomic ensembles separated by one millimeter. To create the interface between the light and matter, the team employed laser-cooled cesium atoms whose atomic states interact with a control laser to create destructive quantum interference, making the atomic ensembles either invisible or highly opaque to the input light. Called Electromagnetically Induced Transparency and pioneered by S. Harris at Stanford University, the mechanism manipulates the speed of the light for the incoming entangled photon and that kicks off the entire procedure.

In this experiment, the photonic entanglement was mapped into the atomic ensembles in a time ~ 20 nanoseconds and then stored in the atomic ensembles for one microsecond, with storage times extendable up to 10 microseconds. The photonic entanglements of the input and output of the quantum interface were explicitly quantified with a conversion efficiency of 20 percent. However, the researchers emphasize, real-world realization of a quantum network remains far out of reach even with these parameters and the state-of-the-art of quantum controls. Choi comments, "Further improvements in quantum control and storage capabilities in matter-light interfaces will lead to fruitful and exciting discoveries in Quantum Information Science, including for the realization of quantum networks."

In addition to Kimble and Choi, other authors are Hui Deng, a postdoctoral scholar at the Center for the Physics of Information; and Julien Laurat, a former Caltech physics postdoctoral scholar who is now an associate professor at Laboratoire Kastler Brossel (Universite P. et M. Curie, Ecole Normale Superieure and CNRS) in Paris, France.

Reference
"Mapping photonic entanglement into and out of a quantum memory"
K. S. Choi, H. Deng, J. Laurat & H. J. Kimble,

Nature 452, 67-71 (6 March 2008), Abstract Link

[We thank Caltech Media Relations for materials used in this posting]

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