Single Rubidium Atom Captured

Image of the one atom lure. Within the ultra-high vacuum glass cell a single Rubidium atom is captured, which later can be entangled with a photon. Credit score: C. Olesinski/LMU

Physicists at Ludwig Maximilian College of Munich (LMU), along with colleagues at Saarland College, have efficiently demonstrated the transport of an entangled state between an atom and a photon through an optic fiber over a distance of as much as 20 km – thus setting a brand new document.

‘Entanglement’ describes a really explicit sort of quantum state which isn’t attributed to a single particle alone, however which is shared between two completely different particles. It irrevocably hyperlinks their subsequent fates collectively – irrespective of how far aside they’re – which famously led Albert Einstein to name the phenomenon as “spooky motion at a distance.” Entanglement has turn out to be a cornerstone of recent applied sciences based mostly on results on the quantum stage and its distribution over lengthy distances is a central purpose in quantum communication. Now LMU researchers led by physicist Harald Weinfurter, in collaboration with a workforce on the College of the Saarland in Saarbrücken, have proven that the entangled state of an atom and a photon will be transmitted through an optic fiber (like these utilized in telecommunications networks) over a distance of as much as 20 km. The earlier document was 700 meters. [It might appear the present document is 50 km. Ed.] “The experiment represents a milestone, insofar as the gap lined confirms that quantum data will be distributed on a big scale with little loss,” says Weinfurter. “Our work due to this fact constitutes an important step towards the longer term realization of quantum networks.”

Quantum networks basically include quantum recollections (made up of a number of atoms, for instance) that act as nodes, and communication channels wherein photons (mild quanta) can propagate to hyperlink the nodes collectively. Of their experiment, the researchers entangled a rubidium atom with a photon, and had been capable of detect the entangled state – which now shares the quantum properties of each particles – after its passage via a 20-km coil of optic fiber.

The largest drawback the experimenters confronted begin with the properties of the rubidium atom. Following focused excitation, these atoms emit photons with a wavelength of 780 nanometers, within the near-infrared area of the spectrum. “In an optic fiber manufactured from glass, mild at this wavelength is quickly absorbed,” Weinfurter explains. Standard telecommunications networks due to this fact make use of wavelengths round 1550 nanometers, which markedly reduces losses in transit.

Clearly, this wavelength would additionally enhance the experimenters’ possibilities of success. So Matthias Bock, a member of the group in Saarbrücken, constructed what is named a quantum frequency converter that was particularly designed to extend the wavelength of the emitted photons from 780 to 1520 nanometers. This activity itself posed plenty of extraordinarily demanding technical challenges. For it was crucial to make sure that conversion from solely a single photon to just one different photon occurs and that not one of the different properties of the entangled state, particularly the polarization of the photon, had been altered in the course of the conversion course of. In any other case, the entangled state can be misplaced. “Because of the usage of this extremely environment friendly converter, we had been capable of preserve the entangled state over a for much longer vary at telecommunications wavelengths, and due to this fact to move the quantum data that it carries over lengthy distances,” says Weinfurter.

Within the subsequent step, the researchers plan to frequency convert the sunshine emitted by a second atom, which ought to allow them to generate entanglement between the 2 atoms over lengthy telecommunications fibers. The properties of glass-fiber cables range relying on components such because the temperature and pressure to which they’re uncovered. Because of this, the workforce intends to first perform this experiment underneath managed situations within the laboratory. Within the occasion of success, subject experiments can be undertaken additionally including new nodes to a rising community. In any case, even lengthy journeys will be efficiently accomplished by taking one step at a time.

Reference: “Lengthy-Distance Distribution of Atom-Photon Entanglement at Telecom Wavelength” by Tim van Leent, Matthias Bock, Robert Garthoff, Kai Redeker, Wei Zhang, Tobias Bauer, Wenjamin Rosenfeld, Christoph Becher, and Harald Weinfurter, 10 January 2020, Bodily Evaluation Letters.
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.124.010510

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