Macroscopic Quantum Jumps from a Two-Atom System
We present an analysis of the macroscopic quantum jumps (MQJ) [1,2,4] that can be produced when two identical two-level atoms separated by a distance d are irradiated by a laser having wavelength λ0, with λ0 » d. The laser is resonant with the same ground to excited-state transition in each atom. The problem is conveniently described in terms of the eigenstates  of the two-atom system in the absence of any applied field (Fig.1). Denoting the ground and excited states of atom i(i = 1,2) by | gi > and | e i >, respectively, the appropriate eigenstates are given by | E >=| e 1 e 2 >, | S >= 1/\(\sqrt 2 \) (|e 1 g 2 > + | g 1 e 2 >), | G >=| g 1 g 2 > and | A> = 1\(\sqrt 2 \) (| e 1 g 2 > − | g 1 e 2 >); states | E >, | S > and | G > are symmetric and state | A > is antisymmetric on interchange of the atoms. Energy levels of states | S > and | A > are shifted from those of the non-interacting two-atom system by an amount V. For λ0 » d, the antisymmetric state has a small, but nonvanishing decay rate, Γ A ≅ (2πd/ λ0)2 Γ/5 while the symmetric state decays with a rate Γ S ≅ 2Γ (Γ = decay rate of a single atom). For the level scheme of Fig. 1, such decay rates lend themselves to the possibility of observing MQJ when the system is pumped by an external field.
KeywordsLaser Field Rabi Frequency Pump Field Antisymmetric State Incoherent Pump
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