Observation of Quantum Jumps in a Single Atom
Hulet, Randall G.
Itano, Wayne M.
We detect the radiatively driven electric quadrupole transition to the metastable D522 state in a single, laser-cooled Hg II ion by monitoring the abrupt cessation of the fluorescence signal from the laser-excited S122→P122 first resonance line. When the ion "jumps" back from the metastable D state to the ground S state, the S→P resonance fluorescence signal immediately returns. The statistical properties of the quantum jumps are investigated; for example, photon antibunching in the emission from the D state is observed with 100% efficiency.