Cavity-based quantum networks with single atoms and optical photons

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Andreas Reiserer, Gerhard Rempe


Rev. Mod. Phys. 87, 1379 (2015)

Distributed quantum networks will allow users to perform tasks and to interact in ways which are not possible with present-day technology. Their implementation is a key challenge for quantum science and requires the development of stationary quantum nodes that can send and receive as well as store and process quantum information locally. The nodes are connected by quantum channels for flying information carriers, i.e., photons. These channels serve both to directly exchange quantum information between nodes and to distribute entanglement over the whole network. In order to scale such networks to many particles and long distances, an efficient interface between the nodes and the channels is required. This article describes the cavity-based approach to this goal, with an emphasis on experimental systems in which single atoms are trapped in and coupled to optical resonators. Besides being conceptually appealing, this approach is promising for quantum networks on larger scales, as it gives access to long qubit coherence times and high light-matter coupling efficiencies. Thus, it allows one to generate entangled photons on the push of a button, to reversibly map the quantum state of a photon onto an atom, to transfer and teleport quantum states between remote atoms, to entangle distant atoms, to detect optical photons nondestructively, to perform entangling quantum gates between an atom and one or several photons, and even provides a route toward efficient heralded quantum memories for future repeaters. The presented general protocols and the identification of key parameters are applicable to other experimental systems.