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Physics and Astronomy Quantum Optics and Quantum Networking with Atomic Ensembles and Arrays

Theme: Quantum Wavefunctions

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Example Project: Quantum Optics and Quantum Networking with Atomic Ensembles and Arrays

Faculty Mentor: Yefeng Mei

Photons are faithful carriers of quantum information since they travel fast and interact very weakly with the environment. In our lab, we study the interactions between atoms and light to generate and manipulate nonclassical energy-time entangled photon pairs for quantum information processing. Making use of the electromagnetically induced transparency effect, we slow and store the photons inside the atomic medium for quantum memory and quantum repeater (devices for storage and long-distance transport of quantum information, respectively). REU students will have the opportunity to work on the generation and characterization of entangled photon pairs and their applications in quantum entanglement and quantum storage.

Fig. 1 Energy-time entangled photon pairs generated from atomic ensembles.

We also utilize trapped neutral atoms in optical tweezers and their highly excited Rydberg states to realize multiqubit and photon gates as the key components for a quantum internet. The state-of-the-art system will benefit REU students by exploring quantum computing and quantum networking in neutral atoms. REU students will also gain skills such as optical engineering, vacuum technology, electronics, mechanical design, and computer programming, among others when performing quantum optics experiments with cold and hot atomic systems.

Fig. 2 Two-qubit gate in atomic micro-ensemble arrays using Rydberg interactions.

Dr. Yefeng Mei, a new PI at WSU starting Fall 2023, is currently building up his quantum optics lab from the beginning. As a REU student in 2024, you will participate in system building, including designing a diode laser or Fabry–Pérot interferometer as examples, which will be a unique experience for future research in quantum optics.