Cross-correlations and Entanglement in Cavity QED

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Terraciano, Matthew Louis
Orozco, Luis A
Every quantum system subjected to measurements is an open quantum system. The cavity QED system is elegant in that it probes the interaction between two quantum systems, the atom and the field, while its loss mechanisms are well understood and can be externally monitored. The study of cross-correlations in cavity QED is important for understanding how entanglement evolves in open quantum systems. As quantum information science grows we need to learn more about entanglement and how it can be quantified and measured. Correlation functions have been used to compare an electromagnetic field (intensity) of one mode with the electromagnetic field (intensity) of the same mode at a later time or different spatial location. In quantum optics, correlation functions have been calculated and measured to probe the nonclassical field that results from the interaction of a single mode of the electromagnetic field and an ensemble of two-level atoms (the canonical cavity QED system). This field can exhibit antibunching, squeezing, and can violate inequalities required for a classical field. Entanglement in the steady state of a cavity QED system cannot be measured directly with traditional correlation functions (Hanbury-Brown and Twiss type experiments). Cross-correlations, however, interrogate directly both modes of the entangled pair, the transmitted (cavity) and the fluorescent (atom) intensities, and can act as an entanglement witness. This thesis presents the implementation of a cross-correlation measurement in a cavity QED system. The work has required the construction of an apparatus that incorporates laser cooling and trapping with quantum optics to carefully control both the external (center of mass motion) and internal (atomic state) degrees of freedom of a collection of atoms that interact with a single mode of a high finesse Fabry-Perot cavity. We examine theoretically and experimentally a new intensity cross-correlation function which probes the evolution of the cavity field conditioned on the detection of a fluorescent photon from an atom in the cavity. The results open the possibility to generalize the dynamics of entanglement as a physical resource necessary for the nascent quantum information science.