State-selective imaging of cold atoms

D V Sheludko, Simon Bell, Russell Anderson, C S Hofmann, Edgar Vredenbregt, Robert Scholten

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Atomic coherence phenomena are usually investigated using single beam techniques without spatial resolution. Here we demonstrate state-selective imaging of cold 85Rb atoms in a three-level ladder system, where the atomic refractive index is sensitive to the quantum coherence state of the atoms. We use a phase-sensitive diffraction contrast imaging (DCI) technique which depends on the complex refractive index of the atom cloud. A semiclassical model allows us to analytically calculate the detuning-dependent refractive index of the system. The predicted Autler-Townes splitting and our experimental measurements are in excellent agreement. DCI provided a quantitative image of the distribution of the excited-state fraction, and compared with on-resonance absorption and blue cascade fluorescence techniques, was found to be experimentally simple and robust.
Original languageEnglish
Article number033401
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

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