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Institute of Optics

bar_yell

Classical atoms and quantum mechanical wave packets

John A. Yeazell and C. R. Stroud, Jr.

Acta. Phys. Polon. A78, 253 (1990).


Recent progress in the effort to produce atomic electronic states in which a localized wave packet travels along a classical Kepler orbit is reviewed. It is shown that a short laser pulse can excite a coherent superposition of atomic energy states that closely approaches the ideal of a "correspondence principle" state. Recent experimental results are described in which a radially localized electronic state is produced and its evolution followed through several orbital periods before it eventually spreads due to the discreteness of the atomic energy levels. Similarities with the decays and revivals of the Jaynes-Cummings model are discussed.


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Last modified 13 September 2006