Europhys. Lett.
Volume 65, Number 6, March 2004
Page(s) 785 - 790
Section Electromagnetism, optics, acoustics, heat transfer, classical mechanics, and fluid dynamics
Published online 01 March 2004
Europhys. Lett., 65 (6) , pp. 785-790 (2004)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2003-10194-y

The non-dissipative damping of the Rabi oscillations as a "which-path" information

M. Tumminello, A. Vaglica and G. Vetri

Istituto Nazionale di Fisica della Materia and Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiche ed Astronomiche dell'Università di Palermo - via Archirafi 36, 90123 Palermo, Italy

(Received 8 October 2003; accepted 5 January 2004)

Rabi oscillations may be viewed as an interference phenomenon due to a coherent superposition of different quantum paths, as in Young's two-slit experiment. The inclusion of the atomic external variables causes a non-dissipative damping of the Rabi oscillations. More generally, the atomic translational dynamics induces damping in the correlation functions which describe non-classical behaviors of the field and internal atomic variables, leading to the separability of these two subsystems. We discuss on the possibility of interpreting this intrinsic decoherence as a "which-way" information effect and we apply to this case a quantitative analysis of the complementarity relation as introduced by Englert (Phys. Rev. Lett. 77 (1996) 2154).

42.50.-p - Quantum optics.
32.80.Lg - Mechanical effects of light on atoms, molecules, and ions.
03.65.Ud - Entanglement and quantum nonlocality (e.g. EPR paradox, Bell's inequalities, GHZ states, etc.).

© EDP Sciences 2004