Design for an optical cw atom laser.

  • Ashkin A
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Abstract

A new type of optical cw atom laser design is proposed that should operate at high intensity and high coherence and possibly record low temperatures. It is based on an "optical-shepherd" technique, in which far-off-resonance blue-detuned swept sheet laser beams are used to make new types of high-density traps, atom waveguides, and other components for achieving very efficient Bose-Einstein condensation and cw atom laser operation. A shepherd-enhanced trap is proposed that should be superior to conventional magneto-optic traps for the initial collection of molasses-cooled atoms. A type of dark-spot optical trap is devised that can cool large numbers of atoms to polarization-gradient temperatures at densities limited only by three-body collisional loss. A scheme is designed to use shepherd beams to capture and recycle essentially all of the escaped atoms in evaporative cooling, thereby increasing the condensate output by several orders of magnitude. Condensate atoms are stored in a shepherd trap, protected from absorbing light, under effectively zero-gravity conditions, and coupled out directly into an optical waveguide. Many experiments and devices may be possible with this cw atom laser.

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Authors

  • Arthur Ashkin

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