Production and interaction of photons using atomic polaritons and Rydberg interactions

Erwan Bimbard 1
1 Laboratoire Charles Fabry / Optique Quantique
LCF - Laboratoire Charles Fabry
Abstract : Controllably producing optical photons and making them interact are two key requirements for the development of long-distance quantum communications, and more generally for photonic quantum information processing. This thesis presents experimental studies on possible solutions to these two problems, using the conversion of the photons into collective excitations (polaritons) in a cold atomic cloud, inside the mode of a low-finesse optical cavity (~100). Firstly, ground-state polaritons are used to store a single excitation in the cloud memory. This polariton is then efficiently converted into a single photon, whose field is characterized via homodyne tomography. The single photon state’s Wigner function is reconstructed from the experimental data and exhibits negative values, demonstrating that the photon’s degrees of freedom (spatio-temporal mode and quantum state) are well controlled. Secondly, photons can be coupled to polaritons involving Rydberg states. The strong dipolar interactions between these give rise to very strong optical dispersive nonlinearities, that are characterized in a classical excitation regime. These nonlinearities can be amplified until a single photon is enough to modify the entire system’s response, allowing in principle for the generation of effective photon-photon interactions.
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Erwan Bimbard. Production and interaction of photons using atomic polaritons and Rydberg interactions. Optics [physics.optics]. Institut d’Optique Graduate School, 2014. English. ⟨NNT : 2014IOTA0015⟩. ⟨tel-01127160⟩

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