, Volume 54, Issue 5, pp 477-485

Quantum nondemolition measurement of transverse atomic position in Kapitza-Dirac atomic beam scattering

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Abstract

It is demonstrated that one can measure the distribution of the transverse position of an atom crossing one or more optical cavities by monitoring the phase of the standing wave fields in the cavities. For the atom-field interaction the Kapitza-Dirac regime is assumed; it is shown that in this regime the method represents a quantum nondemolition measurement of the atomic position. On the other hand it can be applied to prepare narrow distributions of the transverse atomic position. In order to show this, a numerical simulation is performed, which illustrates the collapse of a broad initial Gaussian wavepacket, which can be coherent or incoherent, to a distribution with narrow peaks. Preparing the cavity fields in a squeezed state, one can greatly enhance the impact of the cavity field measurements on the atomic density matrix.