Article published in Phys. Rev. Research

Our Article Birth, death, and revival of spontaneous emission in a three-atom system has been published in Phys. Rev. Research:

Phys. Rev. Research 2, 013278 (2020)


Three identical two-level atoms in free space prepared in particular entangled single-photon excited states display a “birth,” “death,” and a nonperiodic “revival” of spontaneous emission in selected directions. Instead of recording the spontaneously emitted photon with a maximum probability at t=0 as for a single atom, a “birth” manifests itself in an initially zero photon detection probability, increasing thereafter in particular directions. Alternatively, the photon detection probability decreases in particular directions from an initially maximal value to completely disappear (“death”) and to reappear again (“revival”). We show how these phenomena can be induced in the fully excited system, by projecting the atomic ensemble into the required entangled single-photon excited state via detection of the first two spontaneously emitted photons. To observe death and revival of spontaneous emission it is necessary to provide both spatial and temporal interference for which a minimum of three atoms is required. Hereby, the third atom, located at a large distance with respect to the other two atoms, can be used to tune the time and direction of the death of the photon. From this manipulation of spontaneous decay at a distance, we anticipate multiple applications, in fundamental science as well as in quantum technologies.