Atomic quasi-Bragg-diffraction in a magnetic field

K.F.E.M. Domen, M.A.H.M. Jansen, W. Dijk, van, K.A.H. Leeuwen, van

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Abstract

We report on a technique to split an at. beam coherently with an easily adjustable splitting angle. In our expt. metastable helium atoms in the |{1s2s}3S1 M=1 state diffract from a polarization gradient light field formed by counterpropagating .sigma.+ and .sigma.- polarized laser beams in the presence of a homogeneous magnetic field. In the near-adiabatic regime, energy conservation allows the resonant exchange between magnetic energy and kinetic energy. As a consequence, sym. diffraction of |M=0 or |M=-1 atoms in a single order is achieved, where the order can be chosen freely by tuning the magnetic field. We present exptl. results up to sixth-order diffraction (24[planck]k momentum splitting, i.e., 2.21 m/s in transverse velocity) and present a simple theor. model that stresses the similarity with conventional Bragg scattering. The resulting device constitutes a flexible, adjustable, large-angle, three-way coherent at. beam splitter with many potential applications in atom optics and atom interferometry.
Original languageEnglish
Article number043605
Pages (from-to)043605-1/4
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review A : Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
Volume79
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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