The enhanced coupling between atoms and photons inside a high-finesse optical cavity provides a novel basis for optical measurements that continuously monitor atomic degrees of freedom. We describe an experiment in which cavity quantum-electrodynamic effects are utilized for real-time detection of individual atoms falling through an optical cavity after being dropped from a magneto-optical trap. Our technique permits experiments that are triggered by the presence of a single optimally coupled atom within the cavity mode volume.
© 1996 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: April 22, 1996
Published: September 1, 1996
H. Mabuchi, Q. A. Turchette, M. S. Chapman, and H. J. Kimble, "Real-time detection of individual atoms falling through a high-finesse optical cavity," Opt. Lett. 21, 1393-1395 (1996)