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Doppler cooling to the recoil limit by means of sharp atomic transitions with controlled quenching

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Abstract

We develop an analytical approach to Doppler cooling of atoms by one- or two-photon transitions when the natural width of the excited level is so small that the process leads to a Doppler temperature comparable with the recoil temperature. In such a limit the usual Fokker–Planck equation for Doppler cooling does not correctly describe the cooling process. We propose a generalization of the Fokker–Planck approach and derive a new model that is able to reproduce the numerical results correctly, even very close to the recoil limit. Two cases of practical interest, one-photon Doppler cooling of strontium and two-photon Doppler cooling of hydrogen, are considered. We also treat the possibility of adding a controlled quenching of the sharp line to optimize the cooling process.

© 2003 Optical Society of America

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Equations (20)

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