Indexed on: 03 Sep '13Published on: 03 Sep '13Published in: Physics - Atomic Physics
We investigate a hybrid quantum system that consists of a superatom coupled to a surface phonon-polariton. We apply this hybrid quantum system to subtract individual photons from a beam of light. Rydberg atom blockade is used to attain absorption of a single photon by an atomic microtrap. Surface phonon-polariton coupling to the superatom then triggers the transfer of the excitation to a storage state, a single Rydberg atom. The approach utilizes the interaction between a superatom and a Markovian bath that acts as a controlled decoherence mechanism to irreversibly project the superatom state into a single Rydberg atom state that can be read out.