AuthorSmith, Gregory A.
AdvisorJessen, Poul S.
Committee ChairJessen, Poul S.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractQuantum measurement is one of the most important features of quantum theory. Although mathematical predictions have been verified in great detail, practical implementation has lagged behind. Only recently have people begun to take advantage of quantum measurement properties to produce new technologies. This research helps fill that technological gap by experimental examination of a continuous, optical measurement for an ensemble of cold atomic spins. The essential physics reduces to the interaction between an atomic ensemble and a weak optical field, which has many well known results. While this work demonstrates many novel applications of the interaction, it also shows that the whole can be more than the sum of the individual parts. Starting with basic characterization of the measurement system using laser-cooled cæsium atoms, the mean value of a spin component is obtained in real time. In essence, the angular momentum of the atomic spins creates a Faraday-like rotation in the polarization of a laser probe beam. With slight modifications, additional spin components are also observed, and are shown to be in good agreement with predictions. In measuring spin dynamics, it is important to account for effects of the probe on the spin states as well. Capitalizing on this as a resource, the probe-induced ac-Stark shift is used to transform a quasi-classical spin-coherent state into a highly quantum Schrödinger cat type of superposition between two spin states. Finally, this work combines all the previous results to demonstrate how a continuous measurement of the spin with a carefully crafted evolution created in part by the probe, allows for nearly real-time determination of the complete spin density matrix. In a single 1.5 millisecond run, a spin density matrix is determined with fidelities ranging from about 85% to 90% across a wide spectrum of test states.
Degree ProgramOptical Sciences