Ultranarrow Optical Inhomogeneous Linewidth in a Stoichiometric Rare-Earth Crystal
R L Ahlefeldt, M R Hush, M J Sellars
Physical Review Letters
We obtain a low optical inhomogeneous linewidth of 25 MHz in the stoichiometric rare-earth crystal EuCl3?6H2O by isotopically purifying the crystal in 35Cl. With this linewidth, an important limit for stoichiometric rare-earth crystals is surpassed: the hyperfine structure of 153Eu is spectrally resolved, allowing the whole population of 153Eu3+ ions to be prepared in the same hyperfine state using hole-burning techniques. This material also has a very high optical density, and can have long coherence times when deuterated. This combination of properties offers new prospects for quantum information applications. We consider two of these: quantum memories and quantum many-body studies. We detail the improvements in the performance of current memory protocols possible in these high optical depth crystals, and describe how certain memory protocols, such as off-resonant Raman memories, can be implemented for the first time in a solid-state system. We explain how the strong excitation-induced interactions observed in this material resemble those seen in Rydberg systems, and describe how these interactions can lead to quantum many-body states that could be observed using standard optical spectroscopy techniques.
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