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Laser Cooling Without Repumping: A Magneto-Optical Trap for Erbium Atoms

Published

Author(s)

Jabez J. McClelland, James L. Hanssen

Abstract

We report on a novel mechanism that allows for laser cooling of atoms that do not have a closed cycling transition. This mechanism is observed in a magneto-optical trap for erbium, an atom with a very complex energy level structure with multiple pathways for optical pumping losses. We observe surprisingly high trap populations of over 106 atoms and densities of over 1011 atoms cm-3, despite the many potential loss channels. A model based on recycling of metastable and ground state atoms held in the quadrupole magnetic field of the trap explains the high trap population, and agrees well with time-dependent measurements of MOT fluorescence. The demonstration of trapping of a rare-earth atom such as erbium opens a wide range of new possibilities for practical applications and fundamental studies with cold atoms.
Citation
Physical Review Letters
Volume
96
Issue
14

Keywords

ATOM
Created April 14, 2006, Updated February 19, 2017