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Superradiant Scattering

Photonics Spectra
Oct 1999
Aaron J. Hand

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology studied Rayleigh scattering off a Bose-Einstein condensate, an experiment that produced superradiant scattering.

As described in the July 23 issue of Science, the researchers exposed the condensate to an off-resonant laser pulse. Though the photons would normally scatter randomly, the single quantum state of the atoms in a Bose-Einstein condensate allowed the light to maintain its coherence. Long-lived excitations in the condensate, the authors explained, "provide a positive feedback and lead to directional Rayleigh scattering."

The experiment demonstrated the symmetry between optical lasers and atom lasers.

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