Using Rydberg Atoms to Pave Way Toward Quantum Communications
Exciting apparatus helps atoms see the light
Excerpts and salient points ~
+ Researchers in the Light-Matter Interactions for Quantum Technologies Unit at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) have generated Rydberg atoms – unusually large excited atoms – near nanometer-thin optical fibers. Their findings, published recently in Physical Review Research, mark progress toward a new platform for quantum information processing, which has the potential to revolutionize material and drug discoveries and provide more secure quantum communication.
“Understanding interactions between light and Rydberg atoms is crucial,” said Dr. Jesse Everett, a post-doctoral scholar at OIST and a co-author of the study. “Harnessing these atoms could enable the secure routing of communication signals using very small amounts of light.”
Image: The scientists used a device called a magneto-optical trap (MOT) to capture and cool Rubidium atoms, which were then excited to a Rydberg state.
+ Through their experiment, the scientists brought the Rydberg atoms within mere nanometers of the optical nanofiber, enabling increased interaction between the atoms and light traveling in the nanofiber. Due to their abnormal properties, the Rydberg atoms escaped the magneto-optical trap. The scientists were able to understand aspects of Rydberg atom behavior by examining how the loss of atoms depended on the power and wavelength of the light.
+ The ability to use light travelling in an optical nanofiber to excite and then control Rydberg atoms may help pave the way toward methods of quantum communication, while also heralding incremental progress toward quantum computing, the scientists said.
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