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Prof. T.

Dr. T. Donner
Dr. J-P. Brantut

Exercises on Quantum Optics – Problem Set 6

Autumn Term 2011
(Dated: 21. October 2011 – Please hand in solutions before Monday, 31. October 2011, 10:00)
(Letterboxes are located in the staircase of HPF D-floor)


Atoms excited to Rydberg states can be used as probes for measuring the photon number in microwave cavities.
Idea and implementation are described in [R1,R2], and summarized in figure 1.

R1 R2

|g  |ψ1 |ψ2 |ψ3 detector

2 -2

FIG. 1: The atoms are first prepared in state |gi and velocity selected in order to fix the interaction time with the cavity field.
Before entering the cavity, a π2 pulse is applied in zone R1 , resulting in the transition |gi → |ψ1 i = √12 (|gi + |ei). During its
flight through the cavity the atoms interact with the quantized field, resulting in state |ψ2 i. After passing through the cavity,
the inverse of the first pulse is applied in zone R2 , giving state |ψ3 i. Subsequently, the atomic state is measured in a selective
ionization process in the detector, which discriminates between states |gi and |ei.

A. Jaynes-Cummings Hamiltonian in the dispersive approximation

We consider first the interaction of an atom with the field inside the cavity. We consider that the atom is a two-level
system coupled to a single mode of the electromagnetic field. The coupled system atom-field can be described by the
Jaynes-Cummings Hamiltonian :

HJC = ~ωc a†c ac + σz + ~g(ac σ+ + a†c σ− ) (1)
where ac and a†c are ladder operators of the field in the cavity, and σi are the Pauli matrices. ~ωge is the energy
difference between the ground and excited state of the atom and ωc is the angular frequency of the field in the cavity.
We will consider the situation where the detuning ∆ = ωge − ωc is much larger than the coupling g, and reduce the
full Hamiltonian to an effective form valid to first order in the small parameter ∆ .
We introduce the unitary transformation :

U = e∆D (2)
where the generator of the transformation is :
D = ac σ+ − a†c σ− . (3)

In the new basis, the Hamiltonian is Hd = U † HU .

1. Let HJC = H0 + V where H0 is the free Hamiltonian and V is the interaction part. Use the Baker-Campbell-
Hausdorff formula to expand the new Hamiltonian Hd to first order in ∆ . Hint : show first that the first order
term in the expansion of U † H0 U is equal to −V [1]. Show that the approximate Hamiltonian is then

~g 2 † 1
HJC ≈ H0 + (a ac + )σz . (4)
∆ c 2

2. In that approximation, what are the new eigenstates and eigenenergies of the Hamiltonian ? In particular, show
that the energy of the atom in the cavity is changed compared to the atom in free space, even if the cavity is
the vacuum state. Such a change is called the Lamb-Shift.

In the rest of the problem, we will remove the free evolution H0 from the Hamiltonian describing the atomic

evolution, and consider only the dispersive interaction part Hd ≈ ~g ∆ ac ac σz .
In reality, the 2 pulse in zone R2 is not exactly the inverse of the pulse in R1 . It’s phase is adjusted to compensate
the effect of the neglected terms in the Hamiltonian.

B. Experimental Scheme - Measurements

1. Visualize the state of the atom throughout the experiment on Bloch spheres. A general state is written in the
form |ψi = cos(θ/2)|0i + eiφ sin(θ/2)|1i and a rotation
 around the z-axis by the amount θ is realized by the

1 0
operator e−iθσz /2 , where σz is the Pauli matrix .
0 −1

2. Find the unitary rotation operator R which gives for a π/2 pulse applied to |gi the state |ψ1 i = √12 (|gi + |ei).
Also write down R−1 , which realizes the inverse operation: a −π/2 pulse bringing the atom back from |ψ1 i to
3. The parameters are adjusted such that tint∆g = π2 , where tint is the effective atom-cavity interaction time. What
is the state |ψ2 i of the atom after the interaction ? What happens to the state of the cavity field?
4. Derive the state |ψ3 i of the atom after passing through R2 . What is the state of the atom if the cavity field is in
the Fock state |ψicavity = |0i? What is the state of the atom if the cavity field is in the Fock state |ψicavity = |1i?
tint g 2 π
5. Assume that the cavity is in a Fock state with the probability of P (n ≥ 8) being negligible and ∆ = 8.
What is the probability P (n = 3) if the first atom measured is in state |ei?
Hint: For this calculation you have to use conditional probabilities, described by Bayes’ theorem: P (A|B) =
P (B|A)P (A)
P (B) .
6. Assume that the cavity is in a coherent state |ψcav i = |αi and tint∆g = π
4. What is |ψcav i just after the first
atom is detected in state |ei (you don’t have to normalize the state)?

Literature: [R1] M. Brune et al., PRL 65, 976 (1990); [R2] C. Guerlin et al., Nature 448, 06057 (2007);

[1] The transformation is chosen in such a way that the first term in the power expansion cancels the interaction part. Such an
operation was first introduced in the context of solid-state physics, and is called a Schrieffer-Wolff transformation.