Researchers Develop a Single Atom Light Switch
Science & Technology

Researchers Demonstrate A Single Atom Light Switch

The Quantum Light Switch: It may occupy each potential states on the similar time.

In a newly revealed research, researchers from the Vienna College of Know-how reveal extremely environment friendly switching of optical indicators between two optical fibers managed by a single atom.

With only a single atom, mild could be switched between two fiber optic cables on the Vienna College of Know-how. Such a swap allows quantum phenomena for use for data and communication know-how.

Fiber optic cables are turned in to a quantum lab: scientists are attempting to construct optical switches on the smallest potential scale with a view to manipulate mild. On the Vienna College of Know-how, this may now be accomplished utilizing a single atom. Typical glass fiber cables, that are used for web knowledge switch, could be interconnected by tiny quantum programs.

Light in a Bottle
Professor Arno Rauschenbeutel and his group on the Vienna College of Know-how seize mild in so-called “bottle resonators”. On the floor of those bulgy glass objects, mild runs in circles. If such a resonator is introduced into the neighborhood of a glass fiber which is carrying mild, the 2 programs couple and lightweight can cross over from the glass fiber into the bottle resonator.

“When the circumference of the resonator matches the wavelength of the sunshine, we will make a hundred percent of the sunshine from the glass fiber go into the bottle resonator – and from there it may well transfer on right into a second glass fiber”, explains Arno Rauschenbeutel.

Light in a bottle: An optical fiber with a captured beam of sunshine.

A Rubidium Atom as a Light Switch
This technique, consisting of the incoming fiber, the resonator and the outgoing fiber, is extraordinarily delicate: “Once we take a single Rubidium atom and produce it into contact with the resonator, the habits of the system can change dramatically”, says Rauschenbeutel. If the sunshine is in resonance with the atom, it’s even potential to maintain all the sunshine within the unique glass fiber, and none of it transfers to the bottle resonator and the outgoing glass fiber. The atom thus acts as a swap which redirects mild one or the opposite fiber.

Each Settings at As soon as: The Quantum Switch
Within the subsequent step, the scientists plan to utilize the truth that the Rubidium atom can occupy totally different quantum states, solely one among which interacts with the resonator. If the atom occupies the non-interacting quantum state, the sunshine behaves as if the atom was not there. Thus, relying on the quantum state of the atom, mild is shipped into both of the 2 glass fibers. This opens up the chance to take advantage of a few of the most exceptional properties of quantum mechanics: “In quantum physics, objects can occupy totally different states on the similar time”, says Arno Rauschenbeutel. The atom could be ready in such a manner that it occupies each swap states directly. As a consequence, the states “mild” and “no mild” are concurrently current in every of the 2 glass fiber cables.

For the classical mild swap at residence, this may be plain unattainable, however for a “quantum mild swap”, occupying each states directly is just not an issue. “It will likely be thrilling to check, whether or not such superpositions are additionally potential with stronger mild pulses. Someplace we’re certain to come across a crossover between quantum physics and classical physics”, says Rauschenbeutel.

This mild swap is a really highly effective new instrument for quantum data and quantum communication. “We’re planning to deterministically create quantum entanglement between mild and matter”, says Arno Rauschenbeutel. “For that, we are going to not want any unique equipment which is barely present in laboratories. As an alternative, we will now do it with typical glass fiber cables which can be found all over the place.”

Publication: Danny O’Shea, et al., “Fiber-Optical Switch Managed by a Single Atom,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 193601 (2013); doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.111.193601

PDF Copy of the Research: Fiber-optical switch controlled by a single atom

Photographs: Vienna College of Know-how

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