The Hong-Ou-Mandel effect with atoms

Research paper by A. M. Kaufman, M. C. Tichy, F. Mintert, A. M. Rey, C. A. Regal

Indexed on: 15 Jan '18Published on: 15 Jan '18Published in: arXiv - Quantum Physics


Controlling light at the level of individual photons has led to advances in fields ranging from quantum information and precision sensing to fundamental tests of quantum mechanics. A central development that followed the advent of single photon sources was the observation of the Hong-Ou- Mandel (HOM) effect, a novel two-photon path interference phenomenon experienced by indistinguishable photons. The effect is now a central technique in the field of quantum optics, harnessed for a variety of applications such as diagnosing single photon sources and creating probabilistic entanglement in linear quantum computing. Recently, several distinct experiments using atomic sources have realized the requisite control to observe and exploit Hong-Ou-Mandel interference of atoms. This article provides a summary of this phenomenon and discusses some of its implications for atomic systems. Transitioning from the domain of photons to atoms opens new perspectives on fundamental concepts, such as the classification of entanglement of identical particles. It aids in the design of novel probes of quantities such as entanglement entropy by combining well established tools of AMO physics - unity single-atom detection, tunable interactions, and scalability - with the Hong-Ou-Mandel interference. Furthermore, it is now possible for established protocols in the photon community, such as measurement-induced entanglement, to be employed in atomic experiments that possess deterministic single-particle production and detection. Hence, the realization of the HOM effect with atoms represents a productive union of central ideas in quantum control of atoms and photons.