, Volume 55, Issue 3, pp 279-290

Atomic spectroscopy with squeezed light for sensitivity beyond the vacuum-state limit

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A frequency tunable source of squeezed light has been developed which is suitable for a variety of spectroscopic applications. In initial experiments continuous tunability over a range of 2 GHz has been achieved with a directly observed nonclassical noise reduction of 6 dB relative to the vacuum-state limit in a balanced homodyne detector. A process of light-induced absorption in the nonlinear crystal has been identified as the principal loss mechanism which prevents the observation of yet larger degrees of squeezing. Although our source is potentially broadly tunable over the range of wavelengths from 840 to 970 nm, the current research centers on the performance at 852 nm for spectroscopy of the D 2 line of atomic cesium. For frequency-modulated (FM) saturation spectroscopy in a vapor cell, an improvement of 3.1 dB in sensitivity relative to the usual quantum limit is demonstrated for the detection of Doppler-free resonances. When corrected for the thermal noise of the detector, the enhancement in signal-to-noise ratio brought by the squeezed field is 3.8 dB relative to the shot-noise limit set by the vacuum fluctuations of the probe field.