Winston Goldthwaite’s Comps Presentation
Wednesday, April 10th
3:10 pm in Olin 141
Classical Laser Cooling and Trapping
Experimentally studying quantum atomic behavior and creating systems such as quantum computers require being able to contain and study low temperature atoms whose behavior is dominated by quantum effects rather than classical. Optical forces from atomic interactions with photons can cool atoms into the milli- or microKelvin regime by slowing atomic velocities, and can similarly be trapped to study. In this talk, I discuss the classical theory of how this is done through laser cooling and trapping. I outline the process of atomic excitation by photons and the resulting forces on the atom. I discuss how these forces can be used in Doppler cooling to create a velocity-dependent force that damps atomic velocity, along with some experimental considerations of doing so. I end with explaining one common method of laser trapping, the magneto-optical trap, which is used to contain atoms once cooled.