Chromium atoms traverse an optical potential and the resulting spatial distribution is measured by a new method. Atoms are collected on a substrate and an atomic force microscope is used to determine the flux as a function of position. An unexpectedly high spatial frequency (λ/8) is found in the the atomic distribution. This is attributed to avoided crossings arising from Raman coherences induced between magnetic sublevels. These results show that level crossings and nonadiabatic transitions can play an important role in the manipulation of atomic trajectories by nearresonant light fields.
Citation: Physical Review Letters
Pub Type: Journals