A new publication by members of the Endres and Painter groups is an Editors’ Suggestion in Physical Review, Applied. Wavelengths in the telecommunication window (ca.1.25–1.65 μm) are ideal for quantum communication, due to the low transmission loss in optical-fiber networks. To realize quantum networks operating at these wavelengths, we need long-lived quantum memories that couple efficiently to telecom-band photons. This study proposes using optical tweezers to couple neutral ytterbium atoms, which have a strong telecom-wavelength transition, to a silicon photonic-crystal cavity. The combination of high system efficiency, telecom-band operation, and long coherence times makes this platform well suited for quantum optics on a silicon chip and long-distance quantum communication.

Schematic overview of the optical trapping of an Yb atom in the near-field of a Si nano-optic resonator.

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