Quantum control and measurement of atomic spins in polarization spectroscopy

Ivan H. Deutsch, Poul S. Jessen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Quantum control and measurement are two sides of the same coin. To affect a dynamical map, well-designed time-dependent control fields must be applied to the system of interest. To read out the quantum state, information about the system must be transferred to a probe field. We study a particular example of this dual action in the context of quantum control and measurement of atomic spins through the light-shift interaction with an off-resonant optical probe. By introducing an irreducible tensor decomposition, we identify the coupling of the Stokes vector of the light field with moments of the atomic spin state. This shows how polarization spectroscopy can be used for continuous weak measurement of atomic observables that evolve as a function of time. Simultaneously, the state-dependent light shift induced by the probe field can drive nonlinear dynamics of the spin, and can be used to generate arbitrary unitary transformations on the atoms. We revisit the derivation of the master equation in order to give a unified description of spin dynamics in the presence of both nonlinear dynamics and photon scattering. Based on this formalism, we review applications to quantum control, including the design of state-to-state mappings, and quantum-state reconstruction via continuous weak measurement on a dynamically controlled ensemble.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)681-694
Number of pages14
JournalOptics Communications
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Quantum control and measurement of atomic spins in polarization spectroscopy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this