Chapter

Selected Topics and Applications

Stephen C. Rand

in Lectures on Light

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780199574872
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722219 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199574872.003.0007
Selected Topics and Applications

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Mechanical effects of light are considered in the first section of Chapter 7, together with their application to “optical tweezers.” This leads naturally to a discussion of laser cooling by a variety of techniques. Doppler cooling, magneto‐optic traps, sub‐Doppler cooling, and velocity‐selective coherent population trapping (VSCPT) are all covered. Then coherent population transfer is analyzed as a counterintuitive way of altering the occupation of energy levels in an exceptionally efficient manner. Coherent transverse optical magnetism, covered next, is the only example in the book of an optical effect mediated by the magnetic field of light. This phenomenon is characterized by intense emission of magnetic rather than electric dipole radiation at only moderate intensities and theoretically enables negative indices of refraction and spin control in unstructured, natural (nonmagnetic) materials. Electromagnetically induced transparency (EIT) is also described. This phenomenon is based on tri‐level coherence and can turn opaque media transparent over a limited bandwidth. Additionally, it can intensify high‐order nonlinear optical processes via intermediate step enhancement that is fully resonant. It has been applied to slow or store light as well. In this final chapter, squeezed light is given as an example of a coherent state with altered noise properties. Because the noise in squeezed quadratures of such a state can be reduced below the shot noise limit, it has applications to precision measurements and secure communication. The final section is on cavity quantum electrodynamics (QED). This topic treats the interaction of atoms with weak fields that are enhanced through the use of external cavities. In cavity QED, single photons can interact strongly enough with atoms to exhibit Rabi‐splitting behavior, and the strong coupling limit is considered to be a viable approach to quantum computation.

Keywords: opto‐mechanical forces; tweezers; laser cooling; coherent population transfer; optical magnetism; EIT; squeezed light; cavity quantum electrodynamics

Chapter.  26835 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics

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