We investigate alternative focusing geometries to couple near-resonant light onto a single neutral atom. In particular, we show significant light-atom interaction using the ‘4Pi-microscopy’ configuration. Performing a transmission experiment, we find a resonant extinction of 36.6(3)%. Furthermore, photon anti-bunching in the second-order correlation function of the transmitted light demonstrates nonlinear light-atom interaction at the level of single photons. Our results indicate that free-space focusing provides an alternative route to realise nonlinear optics with single photons.
Matthias Steiner, Yue-Sum Chin, and Christian Kurtsiefer, "Nonlinear photon-atom coupling in free space," Proc. SPIE 10674, Quantum Technologies 2018, 106740V (Presented at SPIE Photonics Europe: April 25, 2018; Published: 21 May 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2305887.
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