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Precision measurements of absorption and refractive-index using an atomic candle

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3 Author(s)
T. Swan-Wood ; Electron. & Photonics Lab., Aerosp. Corp., Los Angeles, CA, USA ; J. G. Coffer ; J. C. Camparo

Across a broad range of disciplines, the accurate determination of an electromagnetic wave's amplitude (either absolute or relative) has considerable relevance. We demonstrate a novel and potentially very precise method for making intensity measurements based on the atomic stabilization of electromagnetic field-strength. For ease of reference, and by analogy to atomic clocks, we refer to this field-strength stabilization system as an atomic candle. While the candle's original purpose was to create a field with long-term intensity stability, its very nature makes it ideal for detecting subtle amplitude changes in strong electromagnetic fields, a problem that is fundamentally different from detecting weak signals in the presence of noise. In this paper, we discuss proof-of-principle experiments demonstrating the atomic candle's ability to make precise measurements of absorption coefficients and indices of refraction

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement  (Volume:50 ,  Issue: 5 )