Hybrid Quantum Technologies: Atoms coupled to superconductors

This project seeks to develop next-generation hardware for quantum networking by using atomic ensembles coupled to superconducting microwave circuits to generate, store and entangle photons in a single chip-based device. This offers a direct route to the creation of scalable quantum networks, in addition to future integration with ultra-fast superconducting qubits to enable distributed quantum computing.

Hybrid systems offer an alternative route to fulfilling the requirements for quantum information processing by combining disparate technologies, in this case neutral atoms and superconductors. Using established techniques of laser cooling and magnetic trapping, atoms will be manipulated above the surface of a superconducting circuit. When the atoms are excited to high-lying Rydberg states, the large dipole moments lead to strong long-range interactions which ensure only a single excitation is created, which enables single photon generation. Interestingly, these interactions lead to the creation of collective states offering an enhanced atom-photon coupling strength in addition to highly directional emission for efficient coupling between single photons and optical fibres. Finally, long range entanglement between atomic ensembles can be achieved using a cavity mediated long-range interaction. Using such a system, it should be possible to generate arbitrary entangled states between multiple optical modes as a first step towards a quantum router, a key building block for scalable quantum networking.

Experimental setup uses high NA lenses to create microscopic dipole traps for trapping atoms into a single blockade volume and manipulating close to the surface for a superconducting microwave coplanar waveguide resonators. Atoms are cooled in a room temperature vapour cell and transported ~ 30 cm in an optical dipole trap into the 4 K cryostat, acting as a dense reservoir for efficient loading of the micro traps.




170614 – Single atom imaginge

We now have two single atom traps giving us the first addressable atomic qubits in Scotland! Video below shows the two traps separated by 15 microns – we load with 60% efficiency, making it possible to see the blinking of the sites and can image with >98% retention, ideal for high fidelity qubit readout.

170608 – Atoms in Microscopic Dipole Trap

Atoms transferred from 1064 transport ODT to 1.5 um microscopic dipole trap. Image below shows ~ 10 atoms loaded into trap.

170402 – Upgraded mechanical stage transport

Following thermal instability and lack of reproducibility of focus adjustable lenses we have upgraded to mechanical transport stage enabling much tighter trapping potential

170320 – Cold Atom EIT

Calibration of ULE cavity mode frequencies with respect to Rydberg transition using cold atom EIT

161216 – ARC: Alkali Rydberg Atom Calculator Released

Open-source python library for calculating properties of Alkali Rydberg atoms developed with Nikola Sibalic, Charles Adams and Kevin Weatherill at JQC in Durham. Full details on the arXiv:1612.05529 – download source from GitHub or use the online Atom Calculator by following the link below.

160520 – Cold Cs Atoms 

Magneto-Optical Trap (MOT) finally up and running in the first stage chamber at room temperature. Atoms are loaded from background vapour and will then be transported in a moving 1064 nm dipole trap to the cold region above.


160225 – First Rydberg EIT in Scotland

Two-photon excitation of thermal Cs atoms from 6S1/2 ground state to the 63D5/2 state using light at 852 nm and 509 nm from the homebuilt SHG system.


151019 – Optical Tables Arrived



Dr. Jonathan Pritchard

PhD Students:
Craig Picken
Rémy Legaie

Former Members
Ilian Despard – UG Project: Construction of Rydberg laser SHG system for microwave sensing with EIT
Sukhpal Singh – UG Project calculating finite temperature effects in hybrid quantum systems