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Numerical Experiments in Semiclassical Laser-Cooling Theory of Multistate Atoms

Juha Javanainen
Journal / Anthology

Physical Review A
Year: 1992
Volume: 46
Issue: 9
Page range: 5819-5835

We describe a numerical implementation of our semiclassical laser-cooling theory [J. Javainen, Phys. Rev. A 44, 5847 (1991)] for an arbitrary multilevel atom and light field. There is satisfactory agreement between experiments and temperatures obtained from Langevin-equation simulations of the motion of an atom subject to light-pressure force and the accompanying diffusion in three-dimensional (3D) optical molasses in which there are three orthogonal pairs of counterpropagating waves with a common linear polarization for the two beams in a pair, but orthogonal polarizations between pairs. However, the velocity distribution of the atoms is anisotropic and may deviate strongly from a Gaussian, heterodyne spectra may have a sideband, and the atomic density may be a maximum at the maximum of the potential of the dipole forces of the molasses beams. Subsequent velocity-linearized analysis of atomic damping and diffusion shows that the damping tensor may have a negative eigenvalue corresponding to heating in large regions of space, even though the light is red tuned for cooling. It is also found that the position-averaged damping and diffusion tensors make a poor predictor of the temperature obtained in Langevin-equation simulations and real experiments. Based on additional simulations of a simple ID model, we formulate a hypothesis that connects our findings. The key idea is that an atom trapped in a minimum of the potential of the dipole forces is subject to a weaker-than-average damping, and therefore tends to boil out of the trap.

*Science > Physics > Optics