Optical quantum memories are devices that store and recall quantum light and are vital to the realization of future photonic quantum networks. To date, much effort has been put into improving storage times and efficiencies of such devices to enable long-distance communications. However, less attention has been devoted to building quantum memories which add zero noise to the output. Even small additional noise can render the memory classical by destroying the fragile quantum signatures of the stored light. Therefore, noise performance is a critical parameter for all quantum memories. Here we introduce an intrinsically noise-free quantum memory protocol based on two-photon off-resonant cascaded absorption (ORCA). We demonstrate successful storage of GHz-bandwidth heralded single photons in a warm atomic vapor with no added noise, confirmed by the unaltered photon-number statistics upon recall. Our ORCA memory meets the stringent noise requirements for quantum memories while combining high-speed and room-temperature operation with technical simplicity, and therefore is immediately applicable to low-latency quantum networks.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics