Rare Earth atoms see the light
- Published: Monday, 20 June 2016 15:55
Physicist discovers a promising route for combined optical and solid state-based quantum information processing
Tiny units of matter and chemistry that they are, atoms constitute the entire universe. Some rare atoms can store quantum information, an important phenomenon for scientists in their ongoing quest for a quantum Internet.
New research from UC Santa Barbara scientists and their Dutch colleagues exploits a system that has the potential to transfer optical quantum information to a locally stored solid-state quantum format, a requirement of quantum communication. The team's findings appear in the journal Nature Photonics.
“Our research aims at creating a quantum analog of current fiber optic technology in which light is used to transfer classical information – bits with values zero or one – between computers,” said author Dirk Bouwmeester, a professor in UCSB's Department of Physics. “The rare earth atoms we're studying can store the superpositions of zero and one used in quantum computation. In addition, the light by which we communicate with these atoms can also store quantum information.”