A Schrödinger representation approach is used to calculate the atom-field dynamics following spontaneous emission by an atom in its excited state to a superposition of its two ground-state sublevels, in the case where the frequency separation of the ground-state sublevels is large compared to the excited-state decay rate. The emitted radiation is incident on a broadband photodetector. Using a relatively simple model for the photodetector, we show how a measurement of a photo-signal leaves the atom in a coherent superposition of the two ground states. The relative phase between the two ground-state amplitudes can be interpreted in terms of the temporal phase acquired in the time interval between spontaneous emission (viewed as a quantum jump process) and detection. Alternatively, the phase can be associated with a spatial phase of the entangled atom-field system; the source atom is projected into a state containing this spatial phase when the emitted photon is detected.
|Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
|Published - Jun 28 2012
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Condensed Matter Physics