Photonic quantum state transfer between a cold atomic gas and a crystal

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Interfacing fundamentally different quantum systems is key to building future hybrid quantum networks1. Such heterogeneous networks offer capabilities superior to those of their homogeneous counterparts, as they merge the individual advantages of disparate quantum nodes in a single network architecture2. However, few investigations of optical hybrid interconnections have been carried out, owing to fundamental and technological challenges such as wavelength and bandwidth matching of the interfacing photons. Here we report optical quantum interconnection of two disparate matter quantum systems with photon storage capabilities. We show that a quantum state can be transferred faithfully between a cold atomic ensemble3,4and a rare-earth-doped crystal5,6,7,8by means of a single photon at 1,552 nanometre telecommunication wavelength, using cascaded quantum frequency conversion. We demonstrate that quantum correlations between a photon and a single collective spin excitation in the cold atomic ensemble can be transferred to the solid-state system. We also show that single-photon time-bin qubits generated in the cold atomic ensemble can be converted, stored and retrieved from the crystal with a conditional qubit fidelity of more than 85 per cent. Our results open up the prospect of optically connecting quantum nodes with different capabilities and represent an important step towards the realization of large-scale hybrid quantum networks.

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