Electron Spin Coherences in Rare-Earth Optically Excited States for Microwave to Optical Quantum Transducers

  1. Sacha Welinski,
  2. Philip J. T. Woodburn,
  3. Nikolai Lauk,
  4. Rufus L. Cone,
  5. Christoph Simon,
  6. Philippe Goldner,
  7. and Charles W. Thiel
Efficient and reversible optical to microwave coherent transducers are required to enable entanglement transfer between superconducting qubits and light for quantum networks. Rare-earth-doped
crystals that possess narrow optical and spin transitions are a promising way to implement these devices. Current approaches use ground-state electron spin transitions that have coherence lifetimes (T2) often limited by spin flip-flop processes and/or spectral diffusion, even at very low temperatures. Here, we investigate spin coherence in an optically excited state of an Er3+:Y2SiO5 crystal at temperatures from 1.6 to 3.5 K and under a weak 8.7 mT magnetic field. Spin coherence and population lifetimes of up to 1.6 μs and 1.2 ms, respectively, are measured by 2- and 3-pulse optically-detected spin echo experiments. Analysis of the dephasing processes suggest that ms T2 can be reached at lower temperatures for the excited-state spins, whereas ground-state spin states could be limited to a few μs due to resonant interactions with the other Er3+ spins in the lattice (spin diffusion). We propose a quantum transducer scheme with the potential for close to unit efficiency that exploits the specific advantages offered by the spin states of optically excited electronic energy levels.