Abstract

The dipole force experienced by an atom in a nonresonant spatially inhomogeneous light field is quantized by the discrete nature of the photon. We propose to detect this quantization by studying the scattering of slow atoms that pass in the evanescent field of a microsphere whispering gallery mode. This constitutes an inverse Stern–Gerlach experiment in which the atomic deflection is correlated to the state of the scattering field.

© 1994 Optical Society of America

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