Investigations of memory, entanglement, and long-range interactions using ultra-cold atoms
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Long-term storage of quantum information has diverse applications in quantum information science. This work presents an experimental realization of quantum memories with lifetimes greater then 0.1 s. The memories are based on cold rubidium atoms confined in one-dimensional optical lattices. First realization of lattice-based quantum memory and entanglement between a light field and a spin wave is presented in Chapter II. Chapter III describes two different methods (two-photon and magnetic) of compensation for inhomogeneous differential light shifts between the memory levels due to optical trapping potentials, and demonstration of entanglement between a telecom-band light field and a light-shift compensated memory qubit. Highly excited Rydberg atoms present a unique platform for study of strongly correlated systems and quantum information, because of their enormous dipole moments and consequent strong, long-range interactions. In the experiment described in Chapter IV single collective Rydberg excitations are created in a cold atomic gas. After a variable storage period the excitations are converted into light. As the principal quantum number n of the Rydberg level is increased beyond ~ 70, no more than a single excitation is retrieved from the entire mesoscopic ensemble of atoms. In Chapter V, by spatially selective conversion of the spin wave into a light field, we demonstrate that Rydberg-level interactions create long-range correlations of collective atomic excitations. These results hold promise for studies of dynamics and disorder in many-body systems with tunable interactions and for scalable quantum information networks. Chapter VI presents initial observations of coherent many-body Rabi oscillations between the ground level and a Rydberg level using several hundred cold rubidium atoms. The strongly pronounced oscillations indicate a nearly complete excitation blockade of the entire mesoscopic ensemble by a single excited atom.