Synopsis: Mirror, Mirror in Free Space

A Fabry-Pérot cavity exhibits the same behavior when an atom replaces a mirror.
Synopsis figure
Adapted from G. Hétet et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. (2011)

Electromagnetic fields change with boundary conditions around them. For example, a cavity made up of two end mirrors alters the field inside it.

In a paper in Physical Review Letters, Gabriel Hétet and colleagues at the University of Innsbruck in Austria report an experiment in which one mirror of a cavity is replaced by a barium ion 30 cm away, trapped in free space by an applied electric field. The presence of the single mirror alters the field around the atom, which also acts like a mirror and coherently reflects incident light. The experiment demonstrates how the presence of the mirror alters the way the atom couples to the laser light and changes the atomic coupling constant. The group observed that the setup behaves just like a simple cavity with two parallel mirrors, called a Fabry-Pérot cavity.

This part-cavity, part-free-space setup—an advance in the field of cavity quantum electrodynamics—can be used for storage and retrieval of single photons from the atom, necessary for quantum communication protocols. – Sonja Grondalski


Announcements

More Announcements »

Subject Areas

Quantum InformationOptics

Previous Synopsis

Fluid Dynamics

Tiny Bubbles Burn Just Fine

Read More »

Next Synopsis

Spintronics

Electrons Churn Up Spin Waves

Read More »

Related Articles

Focus: Strong Light Reflection from Few Atoms
Optics

Focus: Strong Light Reflection from Few Atoms

Up to 75% of light reflects from just 2000 atoms aligned along an optical fiber, an arrangement that could be useful in photonic circuits. Read More »

Synopsis: Controlling a Laser’s Phase
Optics

Synopsis: Controlling a Laser’s Phase

A compact scheme can directly modulate the phase of a laser without a bulky external modulator. Read More »

Focus: Chip Changes Photon Color While Preserving Quantumness
Photonics

Focus: Chip Changes Photon Color While Preserving Quantumness

A new device that can potentially be scaled up for quantum computing converts visible light to infrared light suitable for fiber-optic transmission without destroying the light’s quantum state. Read More »

More Articles