Coherent Processes in Rare-Earth-Ion-Doped Solids

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

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This thesis describes a number of coherent processes, such as quantum information processing, superradiance and electromagnetically induced transparency, which have been experimentally implemented using rare-earth-ion-doped crystals.
The rare-earths are a class of elements that have in common, an atomic structure that allows for very long lifetimes as well as coherence times, both on optical transitions and on spin transitions. These ions can be naturally trapped inside host crystals, and with the phonon vibrations removed by cooling down to cryogenic temperatures (< 4 K), they can be used for a number of different quantum information processes. Most experiments were carried out using PrYSO, but also other crystal types were investigated, such as Nd:YVO4, and La2(WO4)3. The characterization of the ions were done with a variety of methods, including among others, photon echo techniques and electromagnetically induced transparency.
Quantum computing is a rapidly growing field and there are still many potential candidates for its implementation. In our work we have utilized the spin states of the Pr rare-earth ion as a qubit, and demonstrated arbitrary single qubit gates, which are important pieces towards a quantum computing realization in these systems. Most of the experimental work done for the thesis was carried out using an ensemble approach, that has the advantage of giving a strong readout signal, but for future scaling to multiple qubits, single instances are more promising, which is discussed.
Quantum memories are crucial components in applications such as quantum networks and long distance quantum communication. In this thesis, work has been done to investigate how quantum memories can be implemented in rare-earth crystals. In particular, there are two protocols, CRIB and AFC, which were suggested with rare-earth crystals directly in mind, and both of these require high optical depth, for maximum recall efficiency. In this thesis, implications of being in the high optical depth regime, with phenomena such as superradiance, a collective effect that could cause the stored light to be immediately reemitted, and slow light effects that come from performing the storage inside spectrally structured materials, were investigated.
In order to carry out the phase-sensitive experiments, a laser system with a very narrow linewidth of ~1 kHz at 606 nm was constructed, by locking the laser to a semi-persistent spectral hole. In addition, many experiments required advanced pulse shapes, such as complex sechyp pulses or pulses obtained from optimal control theory. In order to be able to accurately create such shapes, an elaborate system using an arbitrary waveform generator and two well calibrated AOMs, controlled from a computer, was also built.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Atomic Physics
  • Kröll, Stefan, Supervisor
Award date2009 Mar 20
Print ISBNs978-91-628-7718-7
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2009-03-20
Time: 10:15
Place: Lecture hall B, Department of Physics, Professorsgatan 1, Lund University Faculty of Engineering

External reviewer(s)

Name: Wunderlich, Christof
Title: Prof.
Affiliation: Universität Siegen


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Atom and Molecular Physics and Optics


  • quantum memories
  • laser stabilization
  • quantum computation
  • rare-earth-ion-doped crystals
  • spectral hole-burning
  • superradiance
  • entanglement
  • spectroscopy
  • slow light


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