We present a novel method to realise a standing light field with a stable configuration in two or three dimensions. A single standing wave formed by two counterpropagating beams is folded and brought into intersection with itself. The values of the relative timephases are stable, a priori known, and can be altered arbitrarily by means of retardation plates. The polarisation configurations of three orthogonal standing waves include the standard magnetooptical trap and a novel three-dimensional pure polarisation lattice which we have investigated in a first spectroscopic measurement, providing strong evidence for atomic localisation in both cases. © 1998 Elsevier Science B.V.
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