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Exploring the QuantumAtoms, Cavities, and Photons$
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Serge Haroche and Jean-Michel Raimond

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198509141

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198509141.001.0001

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Taming Schrödinger’s cat

Taming Schrödinger’s cat

(p.355) 7 Taming Schrödinger’s cat
Exploring the Quantum

Serge Haroche

Jean-Michel Raimond

Oxford University Press

This chapter is devoted to the physics of cavity quantum electrodynamics (CQED) cats. After a brief reminder about the Schrödinger cat problem in quantum optics, it describes how a single atom interacting with a field made of many photons can leave its quantum imprint on this field, bringing it into a superposition of states with distinct classical attributes. It describes the preparation and detection of these ‘Schrödinger cat’ states. It presents simple decoherence models, which account for their extreme fragility. It describes experimental studies of decoherence, which constitute direct explorations of the quantum-classical boundary. It discusses limitations to the size of these cat states and ways to protect them efficiently against decoherence. Finally, the chapter describes proposals to generate and study non-local cats, superpositions of field states delocalised in two cavities.

Keywords:   Schrödinger cats, photonic cats, cavity quantum electrodynamics, decoherence cats, resonant cats, non-local cats

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