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Dynamics in a Two-Level Atom Magneto-Optical Trap



X Xu, T Loftus, M J. Smith, John L. Hall, Alan Gallagher, Jun Ye


Alkaline earth metal atoms present an ideal platform for exploring magneto-optic trap (MOT) dynamics, enabling unique and definitive tests of laser cooling and trapping mechanisms. We have measured the trapping beam intensity, detuning, magnetic-field, gradient, trap density, and lifetime dependence of the spring constant k and damping coefficients (alpha) for a 1S0-u1^P1 88Sr MOT by fitting the oscillatory response of the atom cloud to a setup-function force. We find that the observed behavior of K and α provide a unified and consistent picture of trap dynamics that agrees with Doppler cooling theory at the level of 10%. Additionally, we demonstrate that the trapped atom temperature can be determined directly from measured value of K and trap size, in excellent agreement with the free-expansion temperature measurements. However, the experimentally determined temperature is much higher than Doppler cooling theory, implying significant additional heating mechanisms.
Physical Review A (Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics)
No. 1


cold atoms, Doppler cooling, MOT, trap dynamics


Xu, X. , Loftus, T. , Smith, M. , Hall, J. , Gallagher, A. and Ye, J. (2002), Dynamics in a Two-Level Atom Magneto-Optical Trap, Physical Review A (Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics) (Accessed June 16, 2024)


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Created June 30, 2002, Updated October 12, 2021