Letter

Photonic quantum state transfer between a cold atomic gas and a crystal

Received:
Accepted:
Published online:

Abstract

Interfacing fundamentally different quantum systems is key to building future hybrid quantum networks1. Such heterogeneous networks offer capabilities superior to those of their homogeneous counterparts, as they merge the individual advantages of disparate quantum nodes in a single network architecture2. However, few investigations of optical hybrid interconnections have been carried out, owing to fundamental and technological challenges such as wavelength and bandwidth matching of the interfacing photons. Here we report optical quantum interconnection of two disparate matter quantum systems with photon storage capabilities. We show that a quantum state can be transferred faithfully between a cold atomic ensemble3,4 and a rare-earth-doped crystal5,6,7,8 by means of a single photon at 1,552  nanometre telecommunication wavelength, using cascaded quantum frequency conversion. We demonstrate that quantum correlations between a photon and a single collective spin excitation in the cold atomic ensemble can be transferred to the solid-state system. We also show that single-photon time-bin qubits generated in the cold atomic ensemble can be converted, stored and retrieved from the crystal with a conditional qubit fidelity of more than 85 per cent. Our results open up the prospect of optically connecting quantum nodes with different capabilities and represent an important step towards the realization of large-scale hybrid quantum networks.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the ERC starting grant QuLIMA, by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO) and the Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional (FEDER) through grant FIS2015-69535-R, by MINECO Severo Ochoa through grant SEV-2015-0522, by AGAUR via 2014 SGR 1554, by Fundació Privada Cellex and by the CERCA programme of the Generalitat de Catalunya. P.F. acknowledges the International PhD-fellowship program “la Caixa”-Severo Ochoa @ ICFO. G.H. acknowledges support by the ICFOnest international postdoctoral fellowship program.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. ICFO—Institut de Ciencies Fotoniques, The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology, 08860 Castelldefels (Barcelona), Spain

    • Nicolas Maring
    • , Pau Farrera
    • , Kutlu Kutluer
    • , Margherita Mazzera
    • , Georg Heinze
    •  & Hugues de Riedmatten
  2. ICREA—Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats, 08015 Barcelona, Spain

    • Hugues de Riedmatten

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Contributions

N.M. built and operated the QFC set-ups, and P.F. built and operated the atomic quantum memory set-up, both under the supervision of G.H. The solid-state quantum memory set-up was built and operated by K.K. under the supervision of M.M. The experiment was conducted by N.M., P.F., K.K. and G.H., who also jointly analysed the data. G.H., N.M. and H.d.R. wrote the paper, with inputs from all co-authors. H.d.R. conceived the experiment and supervised the project.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Georg Heinze or Hugues de Riedmatten.

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