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Phys Rev Lett. 2013 Sep 20;111(12):123602. Epub 2013 Sep 17.

Narrow band source of transform-limited photon pairs via four-wave mixing in a cold atomic ensemble.

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Centre for Quantum Technologies, National University of Singapore, 3 Science Drive 2, Singapore 117543, Singapore.


We observe narrow band pairs of time-correlated photons of wavelengths 776 and 795 nm from nondegenerate four-wave mixing in a laser-cooled atomic ensemble of ^{87}Rb using a cascade decay scheme. Coupling the photon pairs into single mode fibers, we observe an instantaneous rate of 7700 pairs per second with silicon avalanche photodetectors, and an optical bandwidth below 30 MHz. Detection events exhibit a strong correlation in time [g((2))(τ = 0) ≈ 5800] and a high coupling efficiency indicated by a pair-to-single ratio of 23%. The violation of the Cauchy-Schwarz inequality by a factor of 8.4 × 10(6) indicates a strong nonclassical correlation between the generated fields, while a Hanbury Brown-Twiss experiment in the individual photons reveals their thermal nature. The comparison between the measured frequency bandwidth and 1/e decay time of g((2)) indicates a transform-limited spectrum of the photon pairs. The narrow bandwidth and brightness of our source makes it ideal for interacting with atomic ensembles in quantum communication protocols.

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