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Phys Rev Lett. 2001 Jul 16;87(3):037902. Epub 2001 Jun 27.

Coherent control of an atomic collision in a cavity.

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  • 1Laboratoire Kastler Brossel, DĂ©partement de Physique de l'Ecole Normale SupĂ©rieure, 24 rue Lhomond, F-75231, Paris Cedex 05, France.


Following a recent proposal by S. B. Zheng and G. C. Guo [Phys. Rev. Lett. 85, 2392 (2000)], we report an experiment in which two Rydberg atoms crossing a nonresonant cavity are entangled by coherent energy exchange. The process, mediated by the virtual emission and absorption of a microwave photon, is characterized by a collision mixing angle 4 orders of magnitude larger than for atoms colliding in free space with the same impact parameter. The final entangled state is controlled by adjusting the atom-cavity detuning. This procedure, essentially insensitive to thermal fields and to photon decay, opens promising perspectives for complex entanglement manipulations.

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