Cavity-induced modifications of quantum jumps
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Complete density-matrix equations and a one-photon counting probability are used to examine the photon statistics of fluorescence light of a single three-level atom, weakly coupled to an external cavity of low [Formula Presented] value. The internal structure of the atom is supposed to be characterized by a weak and a strong transition. The strong transition is coherently driven by an external laser field, whereas no external field is acting on the weak transition. In free space the system exhibits quantum jumps. By placing the atom within the mirrors of an external cavity, tuned close to the transition frequency of the two upper levels, modifications in the quantum jump behavior of the atom are shown due to a modified spontaneous decay rate between the two states. In particular, it is demonstrated that the effect of the cavity is to modify the repetition rate of quantum jumps into the metastable dark state and the average duration of bright periods of fluorescence, whereas the average duration of dark periods is not changed in first order of the spontaneous decay rates involved. In view of current experiments in our laboratory a quantitative analysis is presented for the special case of a single indium ion located between the mirrors of a high-order symmetric confocal cavity. 1997 The American Physical Society.