Abstract

The enhanced coupling between atoms and photons inside a high-finesse optical cavity provides a novel basis for optical measurements that continuously monitor atomic degrees of freedom. We describe an experiment in which cavity quantum-electrodynamic effects are utilized for real-time detection of individual atoms falling through an optical cavity after being dropped from a magneto-optical trap. Our technique permits experiments that are triggered by the presence of a single optimally coupled atom within the cavity mode volume.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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