Efficient quantum memory for light

Morgan P. Hedges, Jevon J. Longdell, Yongmin Li, Matthew J. Sellars

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    516 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Storing and retrieving a quantum state of light on demand, without corrupting the information it carries, is an important challenge in the field of quantum information processing. Classical measurement and reconstruction strategies for storing light must necessarily destroy quantum information as a consequence of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. There has been significant effort directed towards the development of devicesso-called quantum memoriescapable of avoiding this penalty. So far, successful demonstrations of non-classical storage and on-demand recall have used atomic vapours and have been limited to low efficiencies, of less than 17 per cent, using weak quantum states with an average photon number of around one. Here we report a low-noise, highly efficient (up to 69 per cent) quantum memory for light that uses a solid-state medium. The device allows the storage and recall of light more faithfully than is possible using a classical memory, for weak coherent states at the single-photon level through to bright states of up to 500 photons. For input coherent states containing on average 30 photons or fewer, the performance exceeded the no-cloning limit. This guaranteed that more information about the inputs was retrieved from the memory than was left behind or destroyed, a feature that will provide security in communications applications.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1052-1056
    Number of pages5
    JournalNature
    Volume465
    Issue number7301
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2010

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