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A quantum memory for orbital angular momentum photonic qubits

Abstract

Among the optical degrees of freedom, the orbital angular momentum of light1 provides unique properties2, including mechanical torque action, which has applications for light manipulation3, enhanced sensitivity in imaging techniques4 and potential high-density information coding for optical communication systems5. Recent years have also seen a tremendous interest in exploiting orbital angular momentum at the single-photon level in quantum information technologies6,7. In pursuing this endeavour, we demonstrate here the implementation of a quantum memory8 for quantum bits encoded in this optical degree of freedom. We generate various qubits with computer-controlled holograms, store and retrieve them on demand using a dynamic electromagnetically induced transparency protocol. We further analyse the retrieved states by quantum tomography and thereby demonstrate fidelities exceeding the classical benchmark, confirming the quantum functioning of our storage process. Our results provide an essential capability for future networks9 exploring the promises of orbital angular momentum of photons for quantum information applications.

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Figure 1: Experimental set-up for quantum storage and analysis of OAM qubits.
Figure 2: Experimental fringe measurements and phase analysis.
Figure 3: Quantum tomography of the retrieved OAM qubits.
Figure 4: Average fidelities of the retrieved qubits and quantum storage.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank A. Zeilinger and R. Fickler for providing fork holograms and M.J. Padgett and D. Tasca for their assistance with the SLM. The authors also thank M. Scherman and S. Burks for their valuable contributions in the early stage of the experiment. This work is supported by the ERA-Net CHIST-ERA (QScale), the ERA-Net.RUS (Nanoquint), the Institut Francilien de Recherche sur les Atomes Froids (IFRAF) and by the European Research Council (ERC; starting grant HybridNet). A.N. acknowledges support from the Direction Générale de l'Armement (DGA). J.L. is a member of the Institut Universitaire de France.

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Contributions

L.G., L.V., E.G. and J.L. planned the initial experimental set-up for light–matter interfacing, which was constructed by L.G., L.V. and J.L. All authors contributed to the OAM experiment. A.N., L.V. and D.M. designed the generation and characterization system and performed the measurements and data analysis under the supervision of J.L. All authors contributed to discussing the results. J.L., A.N., L.V. and D.M. wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to J. Laurat.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Nicolas, A., Veissier, L., Giner, L. et al. A quantum memory for orbital angular momentum photonic qubits. Nature Photon 8, 234–238 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2013.355

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