Physics 500 Spring 2009

unmUniversity of New Mexico

Department of Physics and Astronomy



Introduction to Laser Cooling and Trapping of Atoms



General Information


Instructor: Prof. Ivan Deutsch (my research group web page)

Phys/Astro Room 24, Phone: 277-1502



Prequisites: Physics 521-522 (or equivalent)


Overview: What began as simple technique to be used for improved spectroscopy and precision measurement has blossomed into a powerful tool for fundamental studies in low temperature physics. New applications in matter wave interferometry, quantum degenerate gases, and quantum information processing are now being actively pursued. The inventions have lead to two Nobel Prizes in physics: 1997 (for atomic laser cooling) and 2001 (for Bose-Einstein condensation). This seminar is an introduction to theory and experiment in laser cooling and trapping of neutral atoms and ions. A series of lectures for ~7 weeks will be followed by student presentations on contemporary research papers. Topics to be covered include:

• Basics of atom-photon interaction.

• Doppler cooling.

• Optical molasses and magneto-optic traps.

• Subdoppler polarization and polarization gradient cooling.

• Ion traps and resolved sideband cooling.

• Optical lattices.

• BEC and Fermi degenerate gases.

• Cold collisions.

• Quantum information processing with cold atoms.


Resource Materials:



Tentative Schedule of Lectures




 Overview: History of laser cooling,

Classical model of force on atoms - scattering force and dipole force.

Quantum model: Photon scattering and ac-stark shift
Doppler Cooling 2: Qualitative picture
Doppler Cooling 2: Optical molasses and the Doppler Limit.

Trapping 1: Magneto-optic trap, Dipole traps


Subdoppler cooling 1: Intro to polarization graident cooling.

Master equation for low saturation.


Subdoppler cooling 2: Sisyphus cooling

Trapping 2 - Ion traps

Cooling trapped particles -- The Lamb-Dicke effect.

Resolved sideband laser cooling.


Student Presentations



 Student: Topic

 Brad Chase: Creating BEC

Thomas Loyd: BEC on a Chip


Xuefang Zhang: BEC Mean-Field Approximation

Zhang Jiang: BEC in an Optical Lattice


Ben Baragiola: Feshbach Resonances

Alexandre Tacla: BEC-BCS Transition


Lee Walsh: Polar Molecules

Leigh Norris: Collective Spin Control with Cold Atoms


Carlos Riofrio: Quantum Control in Ion Traps


Review Talks: Subjects

I. Laser Cooling


III. Trapping


II. Atom Optics


III. Degenerate Quantum Gases


IV. Ultracold Collisions


V. Quantum Information/Control