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Institute of Optics

bar_yell

Excitation of an atomic electron to a coherent superposition of macroscopically distinct states

Michael W. Noel and C. R. Stroud, Jr.

Phys. Rev. Lett 77 1913 (1996).


An atomic electron is prepared in a state closely analogous to Schrödinger's coherent superposition of "live cat" and "dead cat." The electronic state is a coherent superposition of two spatially localized wave packets separated by approximately 0.4 µm at the opposite extremes of a Kepler orbit. State-selective ionization is used to verify that only every other atomic level is populated in the "cat state," and a Ramsey fringe measurement is used to verify the coherence of the superposition.


Click here to download the .pdf version of the paper noel961.pdf (103 KB)


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