Exploring the quantum: atoms, cavities and photons by Serge Haroche, Jean-Michel Raimond

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By Serge Haroche, Jean-Michel Raimond

The counter-intuitive features of quantum physics were for lengthy illustrated via notion experiments, from Einstein's photon field to Schrodinger's cat. those experiments have now turn into actual, with unmarried particles--electrons, atoms or photons--directly unveiling the unusual beneficial properties of the quantum. country superpositions, entanglement and complementarity outline a singular quantum common sense which are harnessed for info processing, elevating nice hopes for purposes. This ebook describes a category of such proposal experiments made genuine. Juggling with atoms and photons constrained in cavities, ions or chilly atoms in traps, is the following an incentive to shed a brand new mild at the uncomplicated recommendations of quantum physics. dimension tactics and decoherence on the quantum-classical boundary are highlighted. This quantity, which mixes thought and experiments, may be of curiosity to scholars in quantum physics, academics looking illustrations for his or her lectures and new challenge units, researchers in quantum optics and quantum info.

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Exploring the quantum: atoms, cavities and photons

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Moment corrected printing 1980. moment multiplied version 1976.

Extra info for Exploring the quantum: atoms, cavities and photons

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CQED experiments are performed with optical or microwave fields. In one microwave version (Fig. 11), photons with wavelength in the millimetre range are bouncing between two mirrors made of highly reflecting superconducting material. A large matter–field coupling is obtained with atoms prepared in very excited Rydberg states, which have a huge electric dipole and interact strongly with microwaves. The Rydberg atoms leaving the cavity are detected by a state-selective field-ionization detector and the atomic signal, a function of the atom–photon interaction time, is used to get information about the cavity field evolution.

This explanation has been given, since the nineteenth century, for light interference whose existence was considered as compelling evidence of the wave nature of radiation. But is it so simple? Refining the experiments, opticians have been able to reproduce it with light so dim that the energy flux corresponded to less than one photon per light transit time across the apparatus. The pattern on the detection screen then builds up in a ‘pointillist’ way by accumulation of discrete spots, each one registering the arrival of a single photon.

Other situations in which information about the particles’ path in an interferometer is acquired via various processes have also been imagined in the early days of the quantum and realized since. An example of such an experiment, also imagined by Bohr, is shown in Fig. 6, on page 13. Here, which-path information is acquired through the recoil of the slit itself, supposed to be light enough to keep a record of the particle’s crossing. We will analyse in detail this situation in Chapter 6 and describe a modern version of this thought experiment.

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