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Trapping of single atoms with single photons in cavity QED

Doherty, A. C. and Lynn, T. W. and Hood, C. J. and Kimble, H. J. (2001) Trapping of single atoms with single photons in cavity QED. Physical Review A, 63 (1). Art. No. 013401. ISSN 1050-2947. https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:DOHpra01

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Abstract

Two recent experiments have reported the trapping of individual atoms inside optical resonators by the mechanical forces associated with single photons [Hood et al., Science 287, 1447 (2000); Pinkse et al., Nature (London) 404, 365 (2000)]. Here we analyze the trapping dynamics in these settings, focusing on two points of interest. First, we investigate the extent to which light-induced forces in these experiments are distinct from their free-space counterparts, and whether or not there are qualitatively different effects of optical forces at the single-photon level within the setting of cavity QED. Second, we explore the quantitative features of the resulting atomic motion, and how these dynamics are mapped onto experimentally observable variations of the intracavity field. Toward these ends, we present results from extensive numerical simulations of the relevant forces and their fluctuations, as well as a detailed derivation of our numerical simulation method, based on the full quantum-mechanical master equation. Not surprisingly, qualitatively distinct atomic dynamics arise as the coupling and dissipative rates are varied. For the experiment of Hood et al., we show that atomic motion is largely conservative and is predominantly in radial orbits transverse to the cavity axis. A comparison with the free-space theory demonstrates that the fluctuations of the dipole force are suppressed by an order of magnitude. This effect is based upon the Jaynes-Cummings eigenstates of the atom-cavity system and represents distinct physics for optical forces at the single-photon level within the context of cavity QED. By contrast, even in a regime of strong coupling in the experiment of Pinkse et al., there are only small quantitative distinctions between the potentials and heating rates in the free-space theory and the quantum theory, so it is not clear that a description of this experiment as a novel single-quantum trapping effect is necessary. The atomic motion is strongly diffusive, leading to an average localization time comparable to the time for an atom to transit freely through the cavity, and to a reduction in the ability to infer aspects of the atomic motion from the intracavity photon number.


Item Type:Article
Additional Information:©2000 The American Physical Society Received 5 June 2000; published 27 November 2000 We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of K. Birnbaum, J. Buck, H. Mabuchi, S. Tan, and S. J. van Enk to the current research. This work was supported by DARPA via the QUIC Institute administered by ARO, by the NSF, and by the ONR.
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:DOHpra01
Persistent URL:https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:DOHpra01
Alternative URL:http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevA.63.013401
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:2035
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Archive Administrator
Deposited On:02 Mar 2006
Last Modified:02 Oct 2019 22:49

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