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Phys Rev Lett. 2007 May 4;98(18):183601. Epub 2007 May 3.

Interfacing collective atomic excitations and single photons.

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  • 1Department of Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.


We study the performance and limitations of a coherent interface between collective atomic states and single photons. A quantized spin-wave excitation of an atomic sample inside an optical resonator is prepared probabilistically, stored, and adiabatically converted on demand into a sub-Poissonian photonic excitation of the resonator mode. The measured peak single-quantum conversion efficiency of chi=0.84(11) and its dependence on various parameters are well described by a simple model of the mode geometry and multilevel atomic structure, pointing the way towards implementing high-performance stationary single-photon sources.

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