Atomic ions which are stored in electromagnetic traps and laser cooled can be confined for long periods of time (hours) end localized in space to ≪1 µm. This allows nearly continuous observation of the same atom by, for example, detecting the fluorescence from a laser driven strongly allowed electric dipole transition. Assume one or the levels of this strong transition is coupled to a metastable energy level by another laser or by radiative decay out of the upper level of the strong transition.

© 1989 Optical Society of America

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