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Hybrid Atomic-Photonics: New Paradigm for Integrated Quantum Optics

Thursday, October 10, 2019 - 12:00
Donostia International Physics Center
Hadiseh Alaeian, Physikalisches Institut, Universität Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany
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Atoms with narrow-line resonances play a major role in high precision measurements like
magnetometry and atomic clocks. Due to their long inherent coherence time, atoms can serve as
quantum memories as well. Moreover, as they possess well-defined electronic levels, coherent
interactions with the photon fields can be used to manipulate their quantum states very precisely.
Besides, the capability of the optical excitation and read out, increase the spatial resolution of the
atomic sensors. Within the last couple of decades interfacing atoms with engineered confined light
fields has been a proper playground for investigating various quantum-electrodynamical effects.
So far different strategies have been utilized successfully to integrate atoms with a confined light
field, for example in high-finesse optical cavities, hollow core fibers, and tapered nanofibers.
While cold atom setups provide ideal conditions and controllability to explore different coupling
regimes, the large setups required to cool and trap the atoms have hindered their scalability for any
realistic quantum networks. Thermal vapors, on the other hand, allow for less precision and
control, but their low technical complexity and suitable compatibility with miniaturization and
integration make them a promising candidate for realizing scalable networks.
In this talk, I review our recent results on integrated thermal vapors with engineered light fields.
Since the velocity of the atoms in a thermal vapor limits their coherence times a larger coupling
rate is required to control the atoms efficiently. To achieve a larger Rabi frequency while still
having reasonable laser power we have used Nano-photonic devices with tightly-focused
electromagnetic fields and small mode-volumes. In particular, we have investigated the interaction
between atomic transitions in the thermal vapor of rubidium (Rb) and optical modes of Si3N4
waveguides, ring resonators, and Mach-Zehnder interferometers. Moreover, I will briefly
introduce the Monte-Carlo simulation method that has been developed in our group to model the
interaction of the atoms with the device by properly incorporating the surface effects via Casimir-
Polder potentials. In addition to the tailored atom-light manipulations, strong atom-atom
interactions in particular between Rydberg atoms can be used to realize quantum devices and
strong nonlinearities. Utilizing these features, we demonstrate a completely new single-photon
source that benefits from four-wave mixing and Rydberg blockade to generate single photons in
an on-demand time window. Besides, I will present some of our most recent results on two-photon
spectroscopy and its potential and promise for compatibility with the well-established silicon
photonics technology. The talk will be concluded with some of our ideas and perspectives for using
this platform for cavity QED studies and devising new schemes for investigating atom-atom
interactions in a low-dimensional light field.

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