Manipulating atomic coherence and interference in a coupled atom-cavity system

Research paper by J. Zhang, X. Wei, G. Hernandez, Y. Zhu

Indexed on: 02 Apr '10Published on: 02 Apr '10Published in: Laser Physics


Collective coupling of multiple atoms with a cavity mode produces two normal modes that are separated in energy by Vacuum Rabi splitting. We show that quantum coherence and interference can be produced by a control laser that couples the atoms confined in the cavity mode from free space, which leads to suppression of the normal mode excitation, or polariton excitation of the cavity-atom system. The control laser splits the normal mode of the cavity-atoms system and opens two excitation channels. The destructive quantum interference between the two channels renders the cavity-atoms system opaque to the light coupled into the cavity mode. We demonstrate suppression of the normal mode (polariton) excitation by the destructive quantum interference in an experiment with cold Rb atoms confined in an optical cavity.