Rydberg Atoms and Cavity Quantum Electrodynamics

  • D. Kleppner
Conference paper


Rydberg atoms (highly excited atoms) provide a new experimental tool for studying quantum electrodynamic phenomena. Spontaneous and stimulated emission rates can be dramatically altered by a cavity, either enhanced or suppressed, compared to the free space values. Radiation by an ensemble of atoms is inherently cooperative. A number of these effects have already been observed using Rydberg atom methods. Experiments are in progress in which a single atom is observed as it interacts with an undamped cavity. Instead of exponential damping, the atom-cavity system is expected to exhibit reversible oscillatory behavior. Other types of novel behavior have also been predicted, including the possibility of “super-cooling” a radiation field so that it is in its ground state even though the walls of the cavity are at a relatively high temperature.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Kleppner
    • 1
  1. 1.Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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