Single-Beam Dark Optical Traps for Cold Atoms

Cold atoms confined in far off-resonant optical dipole traps are useful for precision spectroscopy and for the study of quantum collective effects. To reduce interaction of the atoms with the trapping light, traps in which repulsive light forces confine atoms mostly in the dark were developed. These dark optical traps enable long coherence times of the trapped atoms combined with tight confinement, and therefore high atomic densities. However, most schemes for dark optical traps require a combination of several laser beams, and this experimental complexity limits their wide use. Hence, single-beam dark traps are of great interest.

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