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Cavity Cooling Below the Recoil Limit

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Science  06 Jul 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6090, pp. 75-78
DOI: 10.1126/science.1219166

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Abstract

Conventional laser cooling relies on repeated electronic excitations by near-resonant light, which constrains its area of application to a selected number of atomic species prepared at moderate particle densities. Optical cavities with sufficiently large Purcell factors allow for laser cooling schemes, avoiding these limitations. Here, we report on an atom-cavity system, combining a Purcell factor above 40 with a cavity bandwidth below the recoil frequency associated with the kinetic energy transfer in a single photon scattering event. This lets us access a yet-unexplored regime of atom-cavity interactions, in which the atomic motion can be manipulated by targeted dissipation with sub-recoil resolution. We demonstrate cavity-induced heating of a Bose-Einstein condensate and subsequent cooling at particle densities and temperatures incompatible with conventional laser cooling.

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