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A quantum network node with crossed optical fibre cavities


Quantum networks provide unique possibilities for resolving open questions on entanglement1 and promise innovative applications ranging from secure communication to scalable computation2. Although two quantum nodes coupled by a single channel are adequate for basic quantum communication tasks between two parties3, fully functional large-scale quantum networks require a web-like architecture with multiply connected nodes4. Efficient interfaces between network nodes and channels can be implemented with optical cavities5. Using two optical fibre cavities coupled to one atom, we here realize a quantum network node that connects to two quantum channels, one provided by each cavity. It functions as a passive, heralded and high-fidelity quantum memory that requires neither amplitude- and phase-critical control fields6,7,8 nor error-prone feedback loops9. Our node is robust, fits naturally into larger fibre-based networks and has prospects for extensions including qubit-controlled quantum switches10,11, routers12,13 and repeaters14,15.

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Fig. 1: Crossed optical fibre cavities.
Fig. 2: Scheme for the heralded quantum memory.
Fig. 3: Fidelity of the heralded quantum memory.
Fig. 4: Heralded storage with variable herald cavity detuning.

Data availability

Source data for Figs. 1, 3 and 4 are provided with the paper. The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.


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We thank S. Ritter and M. Uphoff for contributions during an early stage of this work and T. Urban for contributions to the design and fabrication of the experimental chamber. This work was supported by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung via the Verbund Q.Link.X (grant no. 16KIS0870), the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft under Germany’s Excellence Strategy (EXC-2111, 390814868) and the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme via the project Quantum Internet Alliance (GA no. 820445). J.D.C. acknowledges support from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

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All authors contributed to the experiment, analysis of the results and writing of the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Manuel Brekenfeld.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Peer review information Nature Physics thanks Lijun Ma and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary text and Figs. 1–4.

Source data

Source Data Fig. 1

Plotted data Fig. 1.

Source Data Fig. 3

Plotted data Fig. 3.

Source Data Fig. 4

Plotted data Fig. 4.

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Brekenfeld, M., Niemietz, D., Christesen, J.D. et al. A quantum network node with crossed optical fibre cavities. Nat. Phys. 16, 647–651 (2020).

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