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Journal Articles Nature Year : 2011

Observation of squeezed light from one atom excited with two photons

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Abstract

Single quantum emitters like atoms are well-known as non-classical light sources which can produce photons one by one at given times, with reduced intensity noise. However, the light field emitted by a single atom can exhibit much richer dynamics. A prominent example is the predicted ability for a single atom to produce quadrature-squeezed light, with sub-shot-noise amplitude or phase fluctuations. It has long been foreseen, though, that such squeezing would be "at least an order of magnitude more difficult" to observe than the emission of single photons. Squeezed beams have been generated using macroscopic and mesoscopic media down to a few tens of atoms, but despite experimental efforts, single-atom squeezing has so far escaped observation. Here we generate squeezed light with a single atom in a high-finesse optical resonator. The strong coupling of the atom to the cavity field induces a genuine quantum mechanical nonlinearity, several orders of magnitude larger than for usual macroscopic media. This produces observable quadrature squeezing with an excitation beam containing on average only two photons per system lifetime. In sharp contrast to the emission of single photons, the squeezed light stems from the quantum coherence of photon pairs emitted from the system. The ability of a single atom to induce strong coherent interactions between propagating photons opens up new perspectives for photonic quantum logic with single emitters.
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Dates and versions

hal-00674453 , version 1 (28-02-2012)

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Alexei Ourjoumtsev, Alexander Kubanek, Markus Koch, Christian Sames, Pepijn W. H. Pinkse, et al.. Observation of squeezed light from one atom excited with two photons. Nature, 2011, 474, pp.623-626. ⟨10.1038/nature10170⟩. ⟨hal-00674453⟩
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