Research ArticlePHYSICS

Demonstration of slow light in rubidium vapor using single photons from a trapped ion

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Science Advances  04 Oct 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 10, eaav4651
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav4651


Practical implementation of quantum networks is likely to interface different types of quantum systems. Photonically linked hybrid systems, combining unique properties of each constituent system, have typically required sources with the same photon emission wavelength. Trapped ions and neutral atoms both have compelling properties as nodes and memories in a quantum network but have never been photonically linked because of vastly different operating wavelengths. Here, we demonstrate the first interaction between neutral atoms and photons emitted from a single trapped ion. We use slow light in 87Rb vapor to delay photons originating from a trapped 138Ba+ ion by up to 13.5 ± 0.5 ns, using quantum frequency conversion to overcome the frequency difference between the ion and neutral atoms. The delay is tunable and preserves the temporal profile of the photons. This result showcases a hybrid photonic interface usable as a synchronization tool—a critical component in any future large-scale quantum network.

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