Storage and control of optical photons using Rydberg polaritons

Maxwell, D. and Szwer, D. J. and Paredes-Barato, D. and Busche, H. and Pritchard, J. D. and Gauguet, A. and Weatherill, K. J. and Jones, M. P A and Adams, C. S. (2013) Storage and control of optical photons using Rydberg polaritons. Physical Review Letters, 110 (10). 103001. ISSN 0031-9007

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We use a microwave field to control the quantum state of optical photons stored in a cold atomic cloud. The photons are stored in highly excited collective states (Rydberg polaritons) enabling both fast qubit rotations and control of photon-photon interactions. Through the collective read-out of these pseudospin rotations it is shown that the microwave field modifies the long-range interactions between polaritons. This technique provides a powerful interface between the microwave and optical domains, with applications in quantum simulations of spin liquids, quantum metrology and quantum networks.