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A High-Brightness Source of Narrowband, Identical-Photon Pairs

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Science  07 Jul 2006:
Vol. 313, Issue 5783, pp. 74-77
DOI: 10.1126/science.1127676

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Abstract

We generated narrowband pairs of nearly identical photons at a rate of 5 × 104 pairs per second from a laser-cooled atomic ensemble inside an optical cavity. A two-photon interference experiment demonstrated that the photons could be made 90% indistinguishable, a key requirement for quantum information-processing protocols. Used as a conditional single-photon source, the system operated near the fundamental limits on recovery efficiency (57%), Fourier transform–limited bandwidth, and pair-generation-rate–limited suppression of two-photon events (factor of 33 below the Poisson limit). Each photon had a spectral width of 1.1 megahertz, ideal for interacting with atomic ensembles that form the basis of proposed quantum memories and logic.

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