Coherent single-atom superradiance

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Science  09 Feb 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6376, pp. 662-666
DOI: 10.1126/science.aar2179

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Building up to superradiance, one by one

Superradiance is a quantum phenomenon that occurs when emitters are sufficiently close to change spontaneous emission. Controlling the position and state of emitters within an atomic ensemble, however, is technically challenging. Kim et al. show that spatial correlations can be replaced by temporal correlations to achieve superradiance (see the Perspective by Meschede). They dropped prepared atoms into a high-quality optical cavity and found that the number of photons within the cavity built up superradiantly as the atoms dropped through one by one. The method provides a versatile platform for generating nonclassical states of light.

Science, this issue p. 662; see also p. 641