Superradiance on the millihertz linewidth strontium clock transition

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Science Advances  14 Oct 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 10, e1601231
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1601231

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Laser frequency noise contributes a significant limitation to today’s best atomic clocks. A proposed solution to this problem is to create a superradiant laser using an optical clock transition as its gain medium. This laser would act as an active atomic clock and would be highly immune to the fluctuations in reference cavity length that limit today’s best lasers. We demonstrate and characterize superradiant emission from the millihertz linewidth clock transition in an ensemble of laser-cooled 87Sr atoms trapped within a high-finesse optical cavity. We measure a collective enhancement of the emission rate into the cavity mode by a factor of more than 10,000 compared to independently radiating atoms. We also demonstrate a method for seeding superradiant emission and observe interference between two independent transitions lasing simultaneously. We use this interference to characterize the relative spectral properties of the two lasing subensembles.

  • Superradiance
  • strontium
  • lattice clock
  • cavity QED

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