Optical molasses and tests of a new theory of laser cooling

David Scott Weiss, P. J. Ungar, Y. Shevy, E. Riis, Steven Chu

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


It has been previously shown that the NBS first showed that the 3-D laser cooling of atoms results in temperatures that are lower than the Doppler cooling limit for two-level atoms. A cooling mechanism that depends on the Zeeman sublevels of the atoms to explain the low temperatures is proposed. The theory explains the sensitivity of molasses temperature to polarization and magnetic fields and its insensitivity to beam misalignment and imbalance as well as its functional dependence on laser intensity and frequency. A high-velocity tail on these cold thermal distributions, which can be approximated as another hotter thermal distribution, has been observed. Temperature measurements in 1-D molasses, starting with atoms cooled in 3-D, are reported. Computer solutions of the optical Bloch equations for the F = 2 to F = 3 transitions in Na are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages1
StatePublished - Dec 1 1989
EventQuantum Electronics and Laser Science Conference - Baltimore, MD, USA
Duration: Apr 24 1989Apr 28 1989


OtherQuantum Electronics and Laser Science Conference
CityBaltimore, MD, USA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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