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Nature. 2014 Apr 10;508(7495):241-4. doi: 10.1038/nature13188.

Nanophotonic quantum phase switch with a single atom.

Author information

1
1] Department of Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA [2] Department of Physics and Research Laboratory of Electronics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA [3].
2
1] Department of Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA [2].
3
1] Department of Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA [2] Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.
4
Department of Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.
5
Department of Physics and Research Laboratory of Electronics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.

Abstract

By analogy to transistors in classical electronic circuits, quantum optical switches are important elements of quantum circuits and quantum networks. Operated at the fundamental limit where a single quantum of light or matter controls another field or material system, such a switch may enable applications such as long-distance quantum communication, distributed quantum information processing and metrology, and the exploration of novel quantum states of matter. Here, by strongly coupling a photon to a single atom trapped in the near field of a nanoscale photonic crystal cavity, we realize a system in which a single atom switches the phase of a photon and a single photon modifies the atom's phase. We experimentally demonstrate an atom-induced optical phase shift that is nonlinear at the two-photon level, a photon number router that separates individual photons and photon pairs into different output modes, and a single-photon switch in which a single 'gate' photon controls the propagation of a subsequent probe field. These techniques pave the way to integrated quantum nanophotonic networks involving multiple atomic nodes connected by guided light.

PMID:
24717513
DOI:
10.1038/nature13188

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