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Phys Rev Lett. 2007 Jul 6;99(1):013002. Epub 2007 Jul 6.

Trapping and observing single atoms in a blue-detuned intracavity dipole trap.

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  • 1Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik, Hans-Kopfermann-Str. 1, D-85748 Garching, Germany.


A single atom strongly coupled to a cavity mode is stored by three-dimensional confinement in blue-detuned cavity modes of different longitudinal and transverse order. The vanishing light intensity at the trap center reduces the light shift of all atomic energy levels. This is exploited to detect a single atom by means of a dispersive measurement with 95% confidence in 10 micros, limited by the photon-detection efficiency. As the atom switches resonant cavity transmission into cavity reflection, the atom can be detected while scattering about one photon.

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