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ARL Paper Highlighted by Optics Letters

Photonics.com
Aug 2017
ADELPHI, Md., Sept. 5, 2017 — A published paper written by U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) scientist Fredrik Fatemi was chosen as an Editor's Pick in the journal Optics Letters.

 Fredrik Fatemi The paper, "Dynamics of trapped atoms around an optical nanofiber probed through polarimetry," describes a method for measuring potential energy surfaces in atoms near optical nanofibers. The work will facilitate quantum memories and components for quantum networks.

Fatemi collaborated with the Joint Quantum Institute, a collaboration between quantum scientists at the University of Maryland, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Laboratory for Physical Sciences as part of ARL's Center for Distributed Quantum Information.

Optical fibers guide light through thin strands of glass and form the backbone of many communications systems. Normally, the guided light is confined entirely in the glass and cannot be measured or sampled except at the fiber input and output. However, by thinning the fiber to a diameter smaller than the wavelength of light, the propagating light cannot be fully confined by the nanofiber, leading to an evanescent field outside the fiber that can interact with the nearby, surrounding medium. Such optical nanofibers are an example of a "light-matter interface," enabling controlled interactions between lasers and atoms or other materials.

"Quantum memories, or long-term storage of quantum information, are needed for many of these technologies including unconditionally secure communications over long distance, quantum computing and distributed, quantum-enhanced sensing,” Fatemi said. “Because much of quantum information science involves manipulating single photons — the carriers of quantum information — and because quantum information cannot be amplified, minimization of losses is a prerequisite to the increased performance gains."

The research aligns with the Army's focus on quantum technologies that could benefit soldiers in combat. The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, providing research, development and engineering in support of defense.

GLOSSARY
quantum
Smallest amount into which the energy of a wave can be divided. The quantum is proportional to the frequency of the wave. See photon.
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