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The Photonics Spotlight

Single-Atom Lasers

Posted on 2006-07-23 as a part of the Photonics Spotlight (available as e-mail newsletter!)

Permanent link: https://www.rp-photonics.com/spotlight_2006_07_23.html

Author: Dr. Rüdiger Paschotta, RP Photonics Consulting GmbH

Abstract: Judged in terms of wall-plug efficiency or dollars per watt, the single-atom laser as demonstrated in Pasadena is a total failure. However, the corresponding studies can generate a lot of interesting insight.

Ref.: encyclopedia article on single-atom lasers

Dr. Rüdiger Paschotta

I hope that Jeff Kimble, the famous quantum optics guru at Caltech, will forgive me for judging the single-atom laser demonstrated by his research group as a total failure in terms of wall-plug efficiency and particularly concerning the dollars per watt. I do appreciate that despite these shortcomings the single-atom laser has its definite merits. It is an interesting system, differing from the usual types of lasers in several quite fundamental respects, and exhibiting properties which can be explained only with fully quantized laser models, while the usual semiclassical models clearly fail. The study of such curious devices, particularly by comparing the predictions of theoretical models with experimental observations, can surely generate a lot of interesting insight. This prompted me to write an encyclopedia article on this topic (see the reference above).

This article is a posting of the Photonics Spotlight, authored by Dr. Rüdiger Paschotta. You may link to this page and cite it, because its location is permanent. See also the Encyclopedia of Laser Physics and Technology.

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