Quantum State Engineering and Precision Metrology Using State-Insensitive Light Traps

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Science  27 Jun 2008:
Vol. 320, Issue 5884, pp. 1734-1738
DOI: 10.1126/science.1148259

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Precision metrology and quantum measurement often demand that matter be prepared in well-defined quantum states for both internal and external degrees of freedom. Laser-cooled neutral atoms localized in a deeply confining optical potential satisfy this requirement. With an appropriate choice of wavelength and polarization for the optical trap, two electronic states of an atom can experience the same trapping potential, permitting coherent control of electronic transitions independent of the atomic center-of-mass motion. Here, we review a number of recent experiments that use this approach to investigate precision quantum metrology for optical atomic clocks and coherent control of optical interactions of single atoms and photons within the context of cavity quantum electrodynamics. We also provide a brief survey of promising prospects for future work.

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