Physicists created new, simpler-than-ever quantum hard drive for light

A new technique to create a quantum memory.

Lindsay Leblanc led a research team that developed a new technique for building quantum memory, which uses fast pulses of light to store and retrieve data. The new technique is simpler and uses less power than other quantum storage methods. (Photo: John Ulan)
Lindsay Leblanc led a research team that developed a new technique for building quantum memory, which uses fast pulses of light to store and retrieve data. The new technique is simpler and uses less power than other quantum storage methods. (Photo: John Ulan)

Physicists at the University of Alberta have built up another approach to manufacture quantum memory that could help make ready for a cutting-edge quantum web that is more secure yet can, in any case, exploit existing system innovation like fiber-optic cables.

This new approach store pulses of light—down to the single-photon level—in clouds of ultracold rubidium atoms. It then retrieves them on demand by shining a ‘control’ pulse of light.

Scientists noted that the approach could be best suited for applications requiring high-speed operations, also has considerably fewer technical requirements than common quantum storage techniques.

Post-doctoral fellow Erhan Saglamyurek said, “The amount of power needed is significantly lower than current options, and these reduced requirements make it easier to implement in other labs.”

Lindsay LeBlanc, assistant professor of physics and Canada Research Chair in Ultracold Gases for Quantum Simulation said, “The discovery will allow for the crucial scaling up of quantum technologies, which has proven the biggest challenge to date in the emerging field. For example, because it can store data until it is needed, the new memory could be useful for transmitting data securely over longer distances.”

The research team also included two graduate students working in LeBlanc’s lab, Taras Hrushevskyi and Anindya Rastogi, and Khabat Heshami from the National Research Council in Ottawa.

The study, “Coherent Storage and Manipulation of Broadband Photons Via Dynamically Controlled Autler-Townes Splitting,” was published in Nature Photonics.