The behavior of atoms in an optical far-off resonance trap is found
to depend strongly on the trap polarization. Large loss rates occur
unless the polarization is perfectly linear or perfectly circular,
in which case exponential lifetimes up to 10 s are observed. Through
optimization of trap loading, samples of 4106 atoms are obtained
in a circularly polarized trap. Spin polarization of 98(1)% is measured.
This trap should prove useful for precision measurements such as
beta-decay asymmetry and should make RF cooling possible in optical
traps (16 References).
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