On the analogy between a single atom and an optical resonator

Journal article
(Original article)

Publication Details

Author(s): Heugel ST, Villar A, Sondermann M, Peschel U, Leuchs G
Journal: Laser Physics
Publication year: 2010
Volume: 20
Journal issue: 1
Pages range: 100-106
ISSN: 1054-660X


A single atom in free space can have a strong influence on a light beam and a single photon can have a strong effect on a single atom in free space. Regarding this interaction, two conceptually different questions can be asked: can a single atom fully absorb a single photon and can a single atom fully reflect a light beam. The conditions for achieving the full effect in either case are different. Here we discuss related questions in the context of an optical resonator. When shaping a laser pulse properly it will be fully absorbed by an optical resonator, i.e., no light will be reflected and all the pulse energy will accumulate inside the resonator before it starts leaking out. We show in detail that in this case the temporal pulse shape has to match the time-reversed pulse obtained by the cavity's free decay. On the other hand a resonator, made of highly reflecting mirrors which normally reflect a large portion of any incident light, may fully transmit the light, as long as the light is narrow band and resonant with the cavity. The analogy is the single atom-normally letting most of the light pass-which under special conditions may fully reflect the incident light beam. Using this analogy we are able to study the effects of practical experimental limitations in the atom-photon coupling, such as finite pulses, bandwidths, and solid angle coverage, and to use the optical resonator as a test bed for the implementation of the quantum experiment. © 2010 Pleiades Publishing, Ltd.

FAU Authors / FAU Editors

Heugel, Simon Tobias
Institut für Optik, Information und Photonik
Leuchs, Gerd Prof. Dr.
Lehrstuhl für Experimentalphysik (Optik)
Peschel, Ulf Prof. Dr.
Professur für Experimentalphysik
Sondermann, Markus Dr.
Lehrstuhl für Experimentalphysik (Optik)

External institutions with authors

Max-Planck-Institut für die Physik des Lichts (MPL) / Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light

Research Fields

Light-Matter Interaction in Free Space
Lehrstuhl für Experimentalphysik (Optik)

How to cite

Heugel, S.T., Villar, A., Sondermann, M., Peschel, U., & Leuchs, G. (2010). On the analogy between a single atom and an optical resonator. Laser Physics, 20(1), 100-106. https://dx.doi.org/10.1134/S1054660X09170095

Heugel, Simon Tobias, et al. "On the analogy between a single atom and an optical resonator." Laser Physics 20.1 (2010): 100-106.


Last updated on 2019-21-07 at 07:19