Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Light-induced atomic desorption of lithium



Daniel S. Barker, Eric B. Norrgard, Julia K. Scherschligt, James A. Fedchak, Stephen P. Eckel


We demonstrate loading of a Li magneto-optical trap using light-induced atomic desorption. The magneto-optical trap confines up to approximately 10000 lithium atoms with loading rates up to 4000 atoms/s. We study the Li desorption rate as a function of the desorption wavelength and power. The extracted wavelength threshold for desorption of Li from fused silica is approximately 470 nm. In addition to desorption of lithium, we observe light-induced desorption of background gas molecules. The vacuum pressure increase due to the desorbed background molecules is less than 50 % and the vacuum pressure decreases back to its base value with characteristic timescales on the order of seconds when we extinguish the desorption light. By examining both the loading and decay curves of the magneto-optical trap, we are able to disentangle the trap decay rates due to background gases and desorbed lithium. Our results show that light-induced atomic desorption can be a viable Li vapor source for compact devices and sensors.
Physical Review A


laser cooling, atomic desorption, photodesorption, magneto-optical trap
Created October 8, 2018, Updated November 10, 2018