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Science. 2004 Mar 26;303(5666):1992-4. Epub 2004 Feb 26.

Deterministic generation of single photons from one atom trapped in a cavity.

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  • 1Norman Bridge Laboratory of Physics 12-33, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA.


A single cesium atom trapped within the mode of an optical cavity is used to generate single photons on demand. The photon wave packets are emitted as a Gaussian beam with temporal profile and repetition rate controlled by external driving fields. Each generation attempt is inferred to succeed with a probability near unity, whereas the efficiency for creating an unpolarized photon in the total cavity output is 0.69 +/- 0.10, as limited by passive cavity losses. An average of 1.4 x 10(4) photons are produced by each trapped atom. These results constitute an important step in quantum information science, for example, toward the realization of distributed quantum networking.

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