Theory of light-matter interactions in cascade and diamond type atomic ensembles
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In this thesis, we investigate the quantum mechanical interaction of light with matter in the form of a gas of ultracold atoms: the atomic ensemble. We present a theoretical analysis of two problems, which involve the interaction of quantized electromagnetic fields (called signal and idler) with the atomic ensemble (i) cascade two-photon emission in an atomic ladder configuration, and (ii) photon frequency conversion in an atomic diamond configuration. The motivation of these studies comes from potential applications in long-distance quantum communication where it is desirable to generate quantum correlations between telecommunication wavelength light fields and ground level atomic coherences. In the two systems of interest, the light field produced in the upper arm of an atomic Rb level scheme is chosen to lie in the telecom window. The other field, resonant on a ground level transition, is in the near-infrared region of the spectrum. Telecom light is useful as it minimizes losses in the optical fiber transmission links of any two long-distance quantum communication device. We develop a theory of correlated signal-idler pair correlation. The analysis is complicated by the possible generation of multiple excitations in the atomic ensemble. An analytical treatment is given in the limit of a single excitation assuming adiabatic laser excitations. The analysis predicts superradiant timescales in the idler emission in agreement with experimental observation. To relax the restriction of a single excitation, we develop a different theory of cascade emission, which is solved by numerical simulation of classical stochastic differential equation using the theory of open quantum systems. The simulations are in good qualitative agreement with the analytical theory of superradiant timescales. We further analyze the feasibility of this two-photn source to realize the DLCZ protocol of the quantum repeater communication system. We provide a quantum theory of near-infrared to telecom wavelength conversion in the diamond configuration. The system provides a crucial part of a quantum-repeater memory element, which enables a "stored" near-infrared photon to be converted to a telecom wavelength for transmission without the destruction of light-atom quantum correlation. We calculate the theoretical conversion efficiency, analyzing the role of optical depth of the ensemble, pulse length, and quantum fluctuations on the process.