Sebastian Pucher, Christian Liedl, Shuwei Jin, Arno Rauschenbeutel, Philipp Schneeweiss
In a non-reciprocal optical amplifier, gain depends on whether the light propagates forwards or backwards through the device. Typically, one requires either the magneto-optical effect, a temporal modulation, or an optical nonlinearity to break reciprocity. By contrast, here, we demonstrate non-reciprocal amplification of fibre-guided light using Raman gain provided by spin-polarized atoms that are coupled to the nanofibre waist of a tapered fibre section. The non-reciprocal response originates from the propagation direction-dependent local polarization of the nanofibre-guided mode in conjunction with polarization-dependent atom-light coupling. We show that this novel mechanism does not require an external magnetic field and that it allows us to fully control the direction of amplification via the atomic spin state. Our results may simplify the construction of complex optical networks. Moreover, suitable solid-state based quantum emitters provided, our scheme could be readily implemented in photonic integrated circuits.