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Comptes Rendus Physique
Sous presse. Epreuves corrigées par l'auteur. Disponible en ligne depuis le samedi 16 février 2019
Doi : 10.1016/j.crhy.2019.01.001
The early days of quantum optics in France
Les débuts de l'optique quantique en France

Claude Cohen-Tannoudji
 Collège de France & Laboratoire Kastler Brossel, département de physique de l'École normale supérieure, 24, rue Lhomond, 75231 Paris cedex 05, France 


We review a few early studies on atom–photon interactions which took place in France after World War II and before the seventies. Several examples are discussed, including double resonance and optical pumping, radiofrequency multiphoton processes, quantum interference effects in radiative processes, master equation description of atom–photon interactions, optical resonators and laser media, etc. We try to point out the continuity which exists between these early studies and more recent investigations in new research fields, such as laser cooling and trapping. Some general conclusions about science policy will be finally drawn from such a historical review.

The full text of this article is available in PDF format.

Nous présentons quelques-unes des études initiales relatives aux interactions atome–photons qui ont été réalisées en France après la Seconde Guerre mondiale et avant les années 1970. Nous donnons plusieurs exemples, tels que la double résonance et le pompage optique, les processus multiphotoniques dans le domaine des radiofréquences, les interférences quantiques dans les processus radiatifs, la description en termes d'une équation maîtresse des interactions atome–photon, les résonateurs optiques, les milieux laser, etc. Nous essayons de souligner la continuité qui existe entre ces travaux précoces et les recherches ultérieures menées dans des domaines nouveaux, tels que le refroidissement et le piégeage des atomes par laser. Enfin, quelques considérations générales sur la politique de la recherche scientifique se dégagent de cette revue historique.

The full text of this article is available in PDF format.

Keywords : Quantum optics, Photons, Atomic physics, Optical pumping, Magnetic resonance

Mots-clés : Optique quantique, Photons, Physique atomique, Pompage optique, Résonance magnétique

 Reprinted with minor modifications from: N.P. Bigelow, J.H. Eberly, C.R. Stroud Jr., I.A. Walmsley (Eds.), Coherence and Quantum Optics VIII, Proceedings of the Eighth Rochester Conference on Coherence and Quantum Optics, held at the University of Rochester, 13–16 June 2001, Springer, 2003, with kind permission from the original publisher.

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