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


Features

More Features »

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

Viewpoint: Transportable Clocks Move with the Times
Optics

Viewpoint: Transportable Clocks Move with the Times

Transportable atomic clocks are now operating with fractional-frequency uncertainties below one part in 1016, opening up new applications. Read More »

Synopsis: Superdense Coding over Optical Fiber
Quantum Information

Synopsis: Superdense Coding over Optical Fiber

Researchers have demonstrated the fiber transmission of quantum information in which each quantum bit carries nearly two bits of classical information. Read More »

Viewpoint: Trapped Ions Stopped Cold
Optics

Viewpoint: Trapped Ions Stopped Cold

A novel method for cooling trapped ions could boost the accuracy of atomic clocks. Read More »

More Articles