Optical interface created by laser-cooled atoms trapped in the evanescent field surrounding an optical nanofiber

Phys Rev Lett. 2010 May 21;104(20):203603. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.104.203603. Epub 2010 May 20.


Trapping and optically interfacing laser-cooled neutral atoms are essential requirements for their use in advanced quantum technologies. Here we simultaneously realize both of these tasks with cesium atoms interacting with a multicolor evanescent field surrounding an optical nanofiber. The atoms are localized in a one-dimensional optical lattice about 200 nm above the nanofiber surface and can be efficiently interrogated with a resonant light field sent through the nanofiber. Our technique opens the route towards the direct integration of laser-cooled atomic ensembles within fiber networks, an important prerequisite for large scale quantum communication schemes. Moreover, it is ideally suited to the realization of hybrid quantum systems that combine atoms with, e.g., solid state quantum devices.