Scientists are one step closer to creating a full-fledged optical quantum memory. A team of physicists led by Professor Patrick Windpassinger from the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz (Germany) managed to store light inside a special cell. This cell was then moved 1.2 mm and successfully extracted the light back.
The development of German physicists is fundamental to the development of quantum technology. They had previously invented a method of converting an ultracold cloud of atoms into a transport container that could be moved along an optical “conveyor belt” of two laser beams. This eliminated the risk of accidental heating of the container and loss of individual atoms. Now they have managed to fill and move the container with a load of light.
The base of the container is a cloud of rubidium-87 atoms, which is the most reliable material for these purposes. Light has been captured using electromagnetically induced transparency technology and used to collectively excite atoms. It is a reversible process that allows the light to be extracted back. That is, to carry out an analogue of writing information to a memory cell and reading it from there.
One of the most important features of the experiment is that it was possible to move the container with the light inside a distance greater than the length of the physical storage itself. This will allow in the future to create a full-fledged data carrier presented in the form of light. Such optical memory cells will form the basis of large modules and will radically increase the power of quantum computers.