Led by Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics director Gerhard Rempe, researchers have successfully transferred quantum information encoded in a single photon onto a single rubidium atom for storage and later retrieval.
"This provides us with a universal node for a quantum network," Rempe says.
To boost its weak coupling to the proton, the atom is caged within an optical resonator comprised of two reflecting mirrors, and it is held in place with laser light while the incoming photon is reflected back and forth between the two mirrors about 20,000 times. The information is then encoded using a coherent superposition of two polarization states of the photon.
The researchers say the experiment demonstrates new possibilities for developing scalable quantum networks in which photons communicate quantum information between several nodes over long distances. They say the next step is demonstrating a basic quantum network consisting of two communicating nodes.
The research also provides the cornerstone for developing optical quantum gates and repeaters, which are necessary for processing quantum information in a quantum computer and for long distance quantum communications.
From Max Planck Gessellschaft
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