Abstract

This paper reviews our current understanding of the dynamics of a laser-cooled trapped particle in the Lamb–Dicke regime, where the quantum structure of the energy levels cannot be ignored. The derivation and validity of a master equation are surveyed, and its physical interpretation is discussed in some detail. The structure and physical nature of the ultimate steady state are discussed. Using a generating function method, we can solve for both the complete eigenvalue spectrum and the general time-dependent solution of the master equation. These results are derived and interpreted physically. They have earlier been scattered in our various publications and are presented here in a coherent way for the first time. Also included are some new results and a physical discussion of the situation. The paper concludes with a discussion of the validity and limitations of the model as treated so far.

© 1985 Optical Society of America

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