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Hybrid semiconductor-atomic interface: slowing down single photons from a quantum dot


Hybrid interfaces between semiconductor quantum dots and atomic systems could be of potential fundamental and technological interest, because they can combine the advantages of both constituents. Semiconductor quantum dots are tunable and deterministic sources of single1 and entangled photons2. Atomic vapours are widely used as slow-light media3,4 and quantum memories5,6. Merging both systems could enable the storage of quantum dot emission—an important step towards the implementation of quantum memories and quantum repeaters7. Here, we show a hybrid semiconductor–atomic interface for slowing down single photons emitted from a single quantum dot. We use a double absorption resonance4 in rubidium vapour to create a slow-light medium in which a single photon is stored for 15 times its temporal width. Our result is the first demonstration of non-classical light storage, where single photons are generated on demand from a semiconductor source.

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Figure 1: Coupling natural and artificial atoms.
Figure 2: Experimental demonstration of slow single photons from a quantum dot.
Figure 3: Modelling and analysis of photon delay.


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The authors acknowledge U. Perinetti, M. Koole and J. van Leeuwen for their help in the early stages of the project. The authors also thank L. Kouwenhoven for support and useful discussions. O. Benson and D. Hoeckel are acknowledged for their help with the vapour cell temperature control, and E. Zallo, R. Trotta, P. Atkinson and C. Deneke for their contributions to sample preparation. This work was supported by the Dutch Organization for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM), The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO Veni/Vidi), the German Research Foundation (DFG FOR 730) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF QK_QuaHL-Rep, 01BQ1032).

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The experiments were conceived and designed by N.A. and V.Z. and carried out by N.A. The data were analysed and modelled by N.A. The sample was developed by L.W., A.R. and O.G.S. The manuscript was written by N.A. and V.Z. with input from A.R. and O.G.S.

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Correspondence to N. Akopian.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Akopian, N., Wang, L., Rastelli, A. et al. Hybrid semiconductor-atomic interface: slowing down single photons from a quantum dot. Nature Photon 5, 230–233 (2011).

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