Bright thermal atomic beams by laser cooling: a 1400-fold gain in beam flux

M.D. Hoogerland, J.P.J. Driessen, E.J.D. Vredenbregt, H.J.L. Megens, M.P. Schuwer, H.C.W. Beijerinck, K.A.H. van Leeuwen

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Using a three-step transverse laser cooling scheme, a strongly diverging flow of metastable Ne(3 s 3 P 2] atoms is compressed into a well-collimated, small diameter atomic beam (e.g., 1.4 mrad HWHM divergence at 3.6 mm beam diameter) with an unmodified axial velocity distribution centered at 580 m/s. The maximum increase in beam flux 1.04 m downstream of the source is a factor 1400; the maximum increase in phase space density, i.e., brightness, is a factor 160. The laser power used is only 140 mW. The scheme is extendable to a large variety of atomic species and enables the application of bright atomic beams in many areas of physics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-327
JournalApplied Physics B: Lasers and Optics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 1996


  • PACS 42.50.Vk - 32.80.Pj - 35.80. + s - 42.15.Eq
  • 42.50.Vk
  • 32.80.Pj
  • 35.80. + s
  • 42.15.Eq


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