Synopsis: Cavernous nanofibers

Forces on an atom from a fiber less than an optical wavelength in diameter may provide answers in quantum optics.
Synopsis figure
Illustration: F. Le Kien et al., Phys. Rev. A (2010)

An outstanding problem in quantum optics is how light interacts with atoms inside an optical cavity. In the strong-coupling regime—where the coupling between an atom and the cavity field dominates the rate with which the field leaks out of the cavity and that of spontaneous emission—a single atom can significantly affect the field, and the presence of a single photon can strongly affect the atom.

In a paper published in Physical Review A, Fam Le Kien and K. Hakuta, both at the University of Electro-Communications in Japan, analyze how nanofibers—fibers stretched thin with core diameters smaller than a wavelength—may complement atom-cavity technology. They study a nanofiber that combines with two built-in fiber Bragg grating (FBG) mirrors to form a cavity. A surrounding atom interacts with the optical field, confined in the transverse direction by the narrow fiber and in the longitudinal direction by the gratings. As a result, the dynamics of the mean number of photons closely tracks the translational motion of the atom traversing the standing-wave field formed by the two FBG mirrors.

This work may lead to applications in fiber optics, cavity quantum electrodynamics, cold and ultracold atoms, and quantum optics effects such as electromagnetically induced transparency. – Frank Narducci


More Announcements »

Subject Areas

Atomic and Molecular PhysicsOptics

Previous Synopsis

Quantum Information

Quantum guessing games

Read More »

Next Synopsis

Related Articles

Synopsis: Enter the Metacage

Synopsis: Enter the Metacage

An array of equally spaced nanowires, dubbed a metacage, could block optical radiation from entering or escaping a region of arbitrary shape. Read More »

Viewpoint: Cool Physics with Warm Ions
Atomic and Molecular Physics

Viewpoint: Cool Physics with Warm Ions

Ultrafast laser pulses can be used to control and characterize the quantum motion of a single trapped ion over 5 orders of magnitude in temperature. Read More »

Viewpoint: Sharing Heat in the Near Field

Viewpoint: Sharing Heat in the Near Field

The maximum amount of radiative heat that can be transferred between two objects of any shape has been calculated for separations of less than the thermal wavelength. Read More »

More Articles