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Coherent control of atomic tunneling,

John Martin and Daniel Braun

We study the tunneling of a two-level atom in a double well potential while the atom is coupled to a single electromagnetic field mode of a cavity. The coupling between internal and external degrees of freedom, due to the mechanical effect on the atom from photon emission into the cavity mode, can dramatically change the tunneling behavior. We predict that in general the tunneling process becomes quasiperiodic. In a certain regime of parameters a collapse and revival of the tunneling occurs. Accessing the internal degrees of freedom of the atom with a laser allows to coherently manipulate the atom position, and in particular to prepare the atom in one of the two wells. The effects described should be observable with atoms in an optical double well trap.