One-atom detection using resonance ionization spectroscopy

G. S. Hurst, M. H. Nayfeh, J. P. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A new measuring technique which can detect a single atom of a given kind, even in the presence of 1019 or more atoms of another kind, with good space and time resolution, was utilized to study the density fluctuation of less than 100 cesium atoms in a small volume of space filled with inert gases. Repeated measurements of the absolute number of atoms in a defined volume at an arbitrary time were recorded for the first time in order to obtain a statistical distribution giving the fluctuation of the number of atoms around the mean value. Numerous other physics applications of the one-atom detector are briefly described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2283-2292
Number of pages10
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1977
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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