Macroscopic quantum jumps

  • Axel Schenzle
Invited Lectures Part III: Quantum Jumps in Three Level Systems
Part of the Lecture Notes in Physics book series (LNP, volume 282)


When an electron is prepared in a metastable state, it will remain there for some period of time, until it eventually jumps back to the ground state by the emission of a resonant photon. This event can be monitored conveniently by coupling the ground state to a dipole allowed state through a resonant laser field. Then the return of the electron from the forbidden state manifests itself in a sudden appearance of fluorescence from the allowed transition. When the forbidden transition is being driven resonantly as well, the fluorescence will be quenched again, while the electron returns to the forbidden level. If this intuitive picture is basically correct, then it is possible to monitor the individual quantum jumps, which are accompanied by a single photon event only, by the -random appearance and extinction of a strong fluorescence signal - by a macroscopic signal. This process is a unique single atom phenomenon which is washed out gradually, when more and more particles participate in the scattering process.


Correlation Function Dark Period Laser Field Superposition State Emission Event 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Axel Schenzle
    • 1
  1. 1.Fachbereich PhysikUniversität EssenEssenWest Germany

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