QUANTUM OPTICS

Catching a flying photon

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Science  01 Sep 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6354, pp. 883-884
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6354.883-g

Single photons are ideal carriers of quantum information because they are fast, robust, and capable of traveling long distances. An interconnected quantum network, however, will require these information carriers to be stored and processed at node points, or memories. Much effort is being made to optimize the efficiency of single-photon sources and to create reliable quantum memories, but the technology to marry these approaches is also needed. Wolters et al. show that a warm rubidium vapor can be used for the on-demand storage and retrieval of single photons. The simple setup can be combined with a variety of semiconductor quantum dot emitters and has the potential to deal with the range of wavelengths over which quantum dots emit photons; thus, it could prove useful for developing quantum communication networks.

Phys. Rev. Lett. 119, 60502 (2017).

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