Population accumulation in dark states and sub-recoil laser cooling

M.R. Doery, M.T. Widmer, M.J. Bellanca, W.F. Buell, T.H. Bergeman, H. Metcalf, E.J.D. Vredenbregt

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    The Λ system resulting from the interaction of counterpropagating orthogonally polarized beams of light with a Jg=1-->Je=1 transition is known to exhibit laser cooling without the presence of a damping force, through velocity selective coherent population trapping. This occurs independent of the sign of the laser's detuning from the atomic resonance frequency. We present measurements and calculations that show a detuning-dependent transient peak or dip in the ground-state momentum distribution centered at pg=0, however, which is reminiscent of laser cooling by a damping force. We explain this in terms of the character of the quantum-mechanical eigenstates of the total ground-state Hamiltonian of the system, using both analytic expressions and numerical calculations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2295-2301
    Number of pages7
    JournalPhysical Review A: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 1995


    • Optical cooling of atoms
    • trapping
    • Mechanical effects of light on atoms molecules electrons and ions


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