Entangled States of More Than 40 Atoms in an Optical Fiber Cavity

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Science  11 Apr 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6180, pp. 180-183
DOI: 10.1126/science.1248905

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In quantum entanglement, correlations between particles mean that the measurement of one determines the outcome of the other(s). Generally, when trying to exploit quantum entanglement, the larger the number of entangled particles, the better. However, the size of entangled systems has been limited. Haas et al. (p. 180, published online 27 March; see the Perspective by Widera) prepared a small ensemble of ultracold atoms into a collective entangled state. Starting from one internal quantum state, the system of cold atoms was excited with a weak microwave pulse leading to a small excitation probability. Because it is not known which atom is promoted into the excited state, the detection of one quantum of excitation projects the system into an entangled quantum state, called a W-state. A fast repeat-until-success scheme produced such W-states quasi-deterministically. Using such a technique was able to yield entangled states of more than 40 particles. The relatively large ensemble-entangled states could potentially in the future find use in quantum sensing or enhanced quantum metrology applications.