Recent experiments on single trapped ions1-3 show the quantum nature of the system through the observation of what is popularly called quantum jumps. By monitoring the emitted light from the trapped ion subject to excitation by laser radiation, the presence or absence of fluorescence indicates whether the ion exists in a nonfluorescing metastable state. We have observed the quenching of the 2D5/2 state in Ba+ under the influence of a number of atomic and molecular gases at ultrahigh vacuum (10−6−10−8 Pa) by the observation of changes in the quantum jump statistics.

© 1989 Optical Society of America

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