Our article "Creation of Long-Term Coherent Optical Memory via Controlled Nonlinear Interactions in Bose-Einstein Condensates" by Rui Zhang, Sean R. Garner, and Lene Vestergaard Hau is in the 4 Dec. 2009 issue of Physical Review Letters. (Phys. Rev. Lett. 103, 233602 (2009). Storing light for more than one second: We observe that a light pulse can be stopped and stored for 1.5 seconds in a Bose-Einstein condensate of laser cooled atoms. During this time, light could – under normal circumstances – travel to the moon. In the experiments, the light pulse is injected into the condensate where it is converted to a matter imprint. We manipulate atom interactions in the condensate with use of magnetic fields, and the system enters a phase separating regime: much like oil and water separate, the created matter imprint digs a hole for itself in the host condensate. The imprint is nestled in this void and avoids collisions with condensate atoms, thereby minimizing losses. As a result, the matter imprint can be stored over extended time scales. The imprint can further be moved to the outer tip of the condensate where it can be converted back to light, and, from this location, the light pulse can exit the condensate with minimal loss. The long storage times and the achieved control over the matter imprint have important applications for creation of entangled states of light and matter and for creation of long-distance quantum networks for quantum computing, teleportation, and cryptography for secure data transfer. Please click here for full article.

image credit: Anne Goodsell
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