Heating rates in collisionally opaque alkali-metal atom traps

H.C.W. Beijerinck

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    15 Citations (Scopus)
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    Grazing collisions with background gas are the major cause of trap loss and trap heating in atom traps. To first order, these effects do not depend on the trap density. In collisionally opaque trapped atom clouds, however, scattered atoms with an energy E larger than the effective trap depth Eeff, which are destined to escape from the atom cloud, will have a finite probability for a secondary collision. This results in a contribution to the heating rate that depends on the column density of the trapped atoms, i.e., the product of density and characteristic size of the trap. For alkali-metal atom traps, secondary collisions are quite important due to the strong long-range interaction with like atoms. We derive a simple analytical expression for the secondary heating rate, showing a dependency proportional to Eeff1/2. When extrapolating to a vanishing column density, only primary collisions with the background gas will contribute to the heating rate. This contribution is rather small, due to the weak long-range interaction of the usual background gas species in an ultrahigh-vacuum system—He, Ne, or Ar—with the trapped alkali-metal atoms. We conclude that the transition between trap-loss collisions and heating collisions is determined by a cutoff energy 200 µK
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number063614
    Pages (from-to)063614-1/15
    Number of pages15
    JournalPhysical Review A : Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


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