Quantum information processing promises to have transformative impacts on information and communication science and technology. Photonic implementation of quantum information processing is among successful candidates for implementation of quantum computation and is an essential part of quantum communication. Linear optical quantum computation, specifically the KLM scheme, and quantum repeaters are prominent candidates for practical photonic quantum computation and long-distance quantum communication. Quantum memories for photons are key elements for any practical implementation of these schemes. Practical quantum memories require theoretical and experimental investigations into quantum memory protocols and physical systems for implementations.
The present thesis is focused on studying new approaches toward practical solid-state based quantum memories. First, I present a proposal for a new quantum memory protocol called the controllable-dipole quantum memory. It represents a protocol, in a two-level system, without any optical control that is shown to be equivalent to the Raman type-quantum memory. Then I include our studies on the quantum memory based on the refractive index modulation of the host medium. It is shown that it can resemble the gradient echo quantum memory without a spatial gradient in the external field. These two protocols can be implemented in rare-earth doped crystals. With regards to using new physical systems, I present a proposal based on nitrogen vacancy centers. This may pave the way toward micron-scale on-chip quantum memories that may contribute to the implementation of integrated quantum photonics. Finally, I studied the precision requirements for the spin echo technique. This technique is necessary to extend the storage time in solid-state quantum memories, in which the coherence times are limited by spin inhomogeneous broadening.