Bimodal speed distributions in laser-cooled atoms

Y. Shevy, D. S. Weiss, P. J. Ungar, Steven Chu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


We report a bimodal speed distribution for sodium atoms cooled in optical molasses. The temperatures of the two velocity groups differ in their dependence on laser detuning, sensitivity to beam misalignment and imbalance, polarization, and the presence of static magnetic fields. We believe that this behavior is evidence for two distinct cooling mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1118-1121
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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