acta physica slovaca

Acta Physica Slovaca 58, No.3, 243-486 (2008) (243 pages)

Coherent manipulation of atoms using laser light

Bruce W. Shore
    618 Escondido Cir., Livermore, CA 94550, USA

Full text: ::pdf :: (received 11.7.2008, accepted 18.7.2008)

Abstract: The internal structure of a particle ­ an atom or other quantum system in which the excitation energies are discrete ­ undergoes change when exposed to pulses of near-resonant laser light. This tutorial review presents basic concepts of quantum states, of laser radiation and of the Hilbert-space statevector that provides the theoretical portrait of probability amplitudes ­ the tools for quantifying quantum properties not only of individual atoms and molecules but also of artificial atoms and other quantum systems. It discusses the equations of motion that describe the laser-induced changes (coherent excitation), and gives examples of laser=pulse effects, with particular emphasis on two-state and three-state adiabatic time evolution within the rotating-wave approximation. It provides pictorial descriptions of excitation based on the Bloch equations that allow visualization of two-state excitation as motion of a three-dimensional vector (the Bloch vector). Other visualization techniques allow portrayal of more elaborate systems, particularly the Hilbert-space motion of adiabatic states subject to various pulse sequences. Various more general multilevel systems receive treatment that includes degeneracies, chains and loop linkages. The concluding sections discuss techniques for creating arbitrary pre-assigned quantum states, for manipulating them into alternative coherent superpositions and for analyzing an unknown superposition. Appendices review some basic mathematical concepts and provide further details of the theoretical formalism, including photons, pulse propagation, statistical averages, analytic solutions to the equations of motion, exact solutions of periodic Hamiltonians, and population-trapping "dark" states.

PACS: 01.30.Rr, 31.70.Hq, 32.80.Qk, 33.80.-b
Keywords: Coherent excitation, Laser-induced excitation, Optical pumping, Adiabatic following, Stimulated Raman adiabatic passage, Coherent superpositions, Quantum state manipulation, Coherent control, Pulsed excitation, Dark quantum states
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