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Rydberg Atoms Radiating in Free-Space or in Cavities : New Systems to Test Electrodynamics and Quantum Optics at an Unusual Scale

  • Serge Haroche
Part of the Nato ASI Series book series (NSSB, volume 143)

Abstract

Rydberg atoms, characterized by a very strong coupling to the microwave and millimeter wave part of the electromagnetic spectrum, exhibit unusual radiative properties in free space or in resonant cavities. The rates of spontaneous emission between Rydberg levels, although small in absolute value, are very large when compared to those of ordinary atoms or molecules radiating in the same frequency range. The rates of transitions induced by external fields impinging on Rydberg atoms are also very large. In particular, blackbody radiation, even at low temperature, has dramatic effects on the Rydberg state lifetimes and thermal radiation dependent energy shifts of these states are observable. Amplification of radiation by Rydberg systems in free space or in cavities leads to the realization of new types of maser devices which operate with very low thresholds. Collective systems of Rydberg atoms radiating in cavities are in fact quasi ideal examples of superradiant sources and their statistical properties (atomic and field fluctuations) are very interesting to study as examples of macroscopic quantum systems or sources of non classical “squeezed” states of radiation.

Keywords

Spontaneous Emission Atomic System Cavity Wall Resonant Cavity Rydberg State 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Serge Haroche
    • 1
  1. 1.Ecole Normale SupérieureLaboratoire de PhysiqueParis Cedex 05France

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