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Lens-free phase shifting imaging for cold atoms

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Abstract

We propose a lens-free nondestructive imaging method for cold atomic clouds using a Gaussian beam accompanied with phase shifting interferometry. This scheme requires no imaging lens. Hence, aberrations associated with it are completely eliminated and mechanical focusing can be avoided. Compared with the common single-beam nondestructive means, our proposed scheme lowers the energy per probe pulse delivered to the cold samples by almost three orders of magnitude, due to signal enhancement inherently provided in the two-beam configuration. Moreover, higher image resolution is attainable by magnifying the far-field interference distribution using a divergent Gaussian beam. We examine this novel lensless detection means for in situ imaging on typical cold atomic clouds under experimentally achievable conditions. Our simulations show the cloud position can be precisely determined, depending upon the cloud size and probe parameters, with an uncertainty from a few hundreds of micrometers to only a few micrometers, and the spatial resolution of the retrieved phase image can reach the diffraction limit.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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