Indexed on: 03 Aug '04Published on: 03 Aug '04Published in: Quantum Physics
The influence of decoherence on the fidelity of quantum memories for photonic qubits based on dark-state polaritons in atomic ensembles is discussed. It is shown that despite the large entanglement of the collective storage states corresponding to single photons or nonclassical states of light the sensitivity to decoherence does not scale with the number of atoms. This is due to the existence of equivalence classes of storage states corresponding to states with the same number of dark-state polariton excitations but arbitrary excitations in other polariton modes. Several decoherence processes are discussed in detail: single-atom spin-flips and dephasing, atom loss and motion of atoms.