Efficient coupling to an optical resonator by exploiting time-reversal symmetry
The interaction of a cavity with an external field is symmetric under time reversal. Thus, coupling to a resonator is most efficient when the incident light is the time reversed version of a free cavity decay, i.e. when it has a rising exponential shape matching the cavity lifetime. For light entering the cavity from only one side, the maximally achievable coupling efficiency is limited by the choice of the cavity mirrors' reflectivities. Such an empty-cavity experiment serves also as a model system for single-photon single-atom absorption dynamics. We present experiments coupling exponentially rising pulses to a cavity system which allows for high coupling efficiencies. The influence of the time constant of the rising exponential is investigated as well as the effect of a finite pulse duration. We demonstrate coupling 94% of the incident TEM00 mode into the resonator.