Optical molasses

  • Lett P
  • Phillips W
  • Rolston S
 et al. 
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We present a summary of the results of a simple two-level theory of Doppler cooling in optical molasses and contrast it with the recent theories of multilevel, polarization-gradient cooling. The effects of single-photon recoil and of trapping in microscopic optical potential wells are also considered. Experiments are described in which the temperature of sodium atoms released from optical molasses is measured and found to be well below the Dopplercooling limit. Measurements of the temperature dependence on many experimental parameters are found to be in good qualitative agreement with the new theories of polarization-gradient cooling.

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  • P. D. Lett

  • W. D. Phillips

  • S. L. Rolston

  • C. E. Tanner

  • R. N. Watts

  • C. I. Westbrook

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