Why material slow light does not improve cavity-enhanced atom detection

Balázs Megyeri, Andreas Lampis, Graeme Harvie, Robert Culver, Jonathan Goldwin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
121 Downloads (Pure)


We discuss the prospects for enhancing absorption and scattering of light from a weakly coupled atom in a high-finesse optical cavity by adding a medium with large, positive group index of refraction. The slow-light effect is known to narrow the cavity transmission spectrum and increase the photon lifetime, but the quality factor of the cavity may not be increased in a metrologically useful sense. Specifically, detection of the weakly coupled atom through either cavity ringdown measurements or the Purcell effect fails to improve with the addition of material slow light. A single-atom model of the dispersive medium helps elucidate why this is the case.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-191
JournalJournal of Modern Optics
Issue number2
Early online date6 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2018


  • Electromagnetically induced transparency
  • slow light
  • cavity quantum electrodynamics
  • cavity ringdown spectroscopy
  • Purcell effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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