Staying Single and Coupled

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Science  25 Apr 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5619, pp. 551
DOI: 10.1126/science.300.5619.551b

In cavity quantum electrodynamics (QED) the ideal experimental system is a single atom trapped in a cavity and coupled strongly to a single photon. Although much progress has been reported in attaining this goal, the length of time the atoms remain trapped in the cavity has generally been only several hundreds of microseconds. For the study of light-matter interactions or for potential applications in quantum computation and communication, this may be too brief a period. McKeever et al. describe work in which the residence time can be extended. Using a far-off resonance dipole trap, they are able to hold a single cesium atom for 2 to 3 s within the cavity while preserving the strong coupling to a single photon. Their setup allows them to monitor the number of atoms in the cavity and to visualize them dropping out of the cavity region one at a time.—ISO

Phys. Rev. Lett. 90, 133602 (2003).

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