This memory technology is simple and fast and it could find application in a future quantum Internet. Encoding one bit per photon is not only very efficient, but it also allows for a radically new form of information processing based on the laws of quantum physics.
Such quantum bits are the basis for quantum information processing that could make unconditionally secure communication and super fast quantum computers possible in the future.
The ability to store and retrieve single photons from a quantum memory is a key element for these technologies, which is intensively investigated.
A team of physicists led by the professors Philipp Treutlein and Richard Warburton from the University of Basel has now developed a particularly simple and fast quantum memory that stores photons in a gas of rubidium atoms.
The development of such quantum networks is one of the goals of the National Center of Competence in Quantum Science and Technology and of the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation that have funded this study.
In the future, quantum networks could lead to unconditionally secure communication, the networking of different quantum computers and the simulation of complex physical, chemical and biological systems.