Laser Cooling And Trapping For The Masses

Sarah L. Gilbert and Carl E. Wieman

There have been dramatic advances in the techniques for cooling and trapping neutral atoms using laser light. In particular, the use of inexpensive diode lasers and the vapor-cell trap have significantly reduced the complexity and cost of trapping atoms, which has opened the field to many additional researchers. Atomic densities of 1011 atoms/cm3 have been obtained with temperatures of a small fraction of a millikelvin. In this article, we describe laser trapping techniques and discuss current applications of this technology, ranging from frequency and wavelength standards to basic physics research.

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