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Visibility of Young's interference fringes: Scattered light from small ion crystals


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      We observe interference in the light scattered from trapped \(^{40}\)Ca\(^+\) ion crystals. By varying the intensity of the excitation laser, we study the influence of elastic and inelastic scattering on the visibility of the fringe pattern and discriminate its effect from that of the ion temperature and wave-packet localization. In this way we determine the complex degree of coherence and the mutual coherence of light fields produced by individual atoms. We obtain interference fringes from crystals consisting of two, three and four ions in a harmonic trap. Control of the trapping potential allows for the adjustment of the interatomic distances and thus the formation of linear arrays of atoms serving as a regular grating of microscopic scatterers.

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      Main text: 5 pages, 4 figures. Supplemental Material: 2pages, 1 figure
      quant-ph physics.atom-ph

      Quantum physics & Field theory, Atomic & Molecular physics


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