|author(s)||D. Hume, I. Stroescu, M. Joos, W. Müssel, H. Strobel and M. K. Oberthaler|
|title||Accurate Atom Counting in Mesoscopic Ensembles|
|source||PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS, 111 (2013), 253001, arXiv:1307.7598|
Many cold atom experiments rely on precise atom number detection, especially in the context of quantum-enhanced metrology where effects at the single particle level are important. Here, we investigate the limits of atom number counting via resonant fluorescence detection for mesoscopic samples of trapped atoms. We characterize the precision of these fluorescence measurements beginning from the single-atom level up to more than one thousand. By investigating the primary noise sources, we obtain single-atom resolution for atom numbers as high as 1200. This capability is an essential prerequisite for future experiments with highly entangled states of mesoscopic atomic ensembles.