Volume 80, Number 6, December 2007
Article Number 64002
Number of page(s) 6
Section Electromagnetism, Optics, Acoustics, Heat Transfer, Classical Mechanics, and Fluid Dynamics
Published online 16 November 2007
EPL, 80 (2007) 64002
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/80/64002

Reconstruction of the photon distribution in a micromaser

S. Olivares1, 2, F. Casagrande1, A. Lulli1 and M. G. A. Paris1, 3, 4

1  CNISM, UdR Milano Università - I-20133 Milano, Italia
2  Dipartimento di Fisica e Matematica dell'Università dell'Insubria - I-22100 Como, Italia
3  Dipartimento di Fisica dell'Università di Milano - I-20133 Milano, Italia
4  Institute for Scientific Interchange Foundation - I-10133 Torino, Italia

received 31 August 2007; accepted in final form 23 October 2007; published December 2007
published online 16 November 2007

We suggest an iterative, maximum-likelihood$\hbox{--} $based, method to reconstruct the photon number distribution of the steady-state cavity field of a micromaser starting from the statistics of the atoms leaving the cavity after the interaction. The scheme is based on measuring the atomic populations of probe atoms for different interaction times and works effectively using a small number of atoms and a limited sampling of the interaction times. The method has been tested by numerically simulated experiments showing that it may be reliably used in any micromaser regime, leading to high-fidelity reconstructions for single-peaked distributions as well as for double-peaked ones and for trapping states.

42.50.Pq - Cavity quantum electrodynamics; micromasers.
42.50.Dv - Nonclassical states of the electromagnetic field, including entangled photon states; quantum state engineering and measurements.
42.50.Ar - Photon statistics and coherence theory.

© EPLA 2007