A time-correlated single-photon counting method is used to measure the spontaneous emission lifetime of a single trapped barium ion, yielding a standard deviation of 0.5% for 8 min of integration time. The statistical power of this one-atom technique is comparable with that of other methods that use a macroscopic sample, but the technique has potentially lower systematic errors. The method depends on the use of an electro-optic phase modulator as an Nth-order nonlinear switch, which improves the response time by a factor of N and the on–off ratio by the Nth power.
© 1994 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: June 9, 1994
Published: November 15, 1994
R. G. DeVoe and R. G. Brewer, "Precision measurements of the lifetime of a single trapped ion with a nonlinear electro-optic switch," Opt. Lett. 19, 1891-1893 (1994)