Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Summer 7-15-2002

Publication Title

Physical Review A

ISSN

1050-2947

Volume

66

Issue

1

First Page

011401(R)-1

Last Page

011401(R)-4

DOI

10.1103/PhysRevA.66.011401

Abstract

Alkaline-earth-metal atoms present an ideal platform for exploring magneto-optic trap (MOT) dynamics, enabling unique and definitive tests of laser cooling and trapping mechanisms. We have measured the trapping beam intensity, detuning, magnetic-field gradient, trap density, and lifetime dependence of the spring constant κ and damping coefficient α for a 1S01P1 88Sr MOT by fitting the oscillatory response of the atom cloud to a step-function force. We find that the observed behavior of κ and α provide a unified and consistent picture of trap dynamics that agrees with Doppler cooling theory at the level of 10%.Additionally, we demonstrate that the trapped atom temperature can be determined directly from measured value of κ and the trap size, in excellent agreement with free-expansion temperature measurements. However, the experimentally determined temperature is much higher than Doppler cooling theory, implying significant additional heating mechanisms.

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