Measurement-induced entanglement for excitation stored in remote atomic ensembles

Nature. 2005 Dec 8;438(7069):828-32. doi: 10.1038/nature04353.


A critical requirement for diverse applications in quantum information science is the capability to disseminate quantum resources over complex quantum networks. For example, the coherent distribution of entangled quantum states together with quantum memory (for storing the states) can enable scalable architectures for quantum computation, communication and metrology. Here we report observations of entanglement between two atomic ensembles located in distinct, spatially separated set-ups. Quantum interference in the detection of a photon emitted by one of the samples projects the otherwise independent ensembles into an entangled state with one joint excitation stored remotely in 10(5) atoms at each site. After a programmable delay, we confirm entanglement by mapping the state of the atoms to optical fields and measuring mutual coherences and photon statistics for these fields. We thereby determine a quantitative lower bound for the entanglement of the joint state of the ensembles. Our observations represent significant progress in the ability to distribute and store entangled quantum states.