Advances in Laser Slowing, Cooling, and Trapping using Narrow Linewidth Optical Transitions


Laser light in combination with electromagnetic traps has been used ubiquitously throughout the last three decades to control atoms and molecules at the quantum level. Many approaches with varying degrees of reliance on dissipative processes have been discovered, investigated, and implemented in both academic and industrial settings. In this thesis, we theoretically investigate and propose three practical techniques which have the capacity to slow, cool, and trap particles with narrow linewidth optical transitions. Each of these methods emphasizes a high degree of coherent control over quantum states, which lends their operation a reduced reliance on spontaneous emission and thus makes them appealing candidates for application to systems that lack closed cycling transitions. In a more general setting, we also study the transfer of entropy from a quantum system to a classically-behaved coherent light field, and therefore advance our understanding of the role of dissipative processes in optical pumping and laser cooling.

First, we describe theoretically a cooling technique named “sawtooth wave adiabatic passage cooling,” or “SWAP cooling,” which was discovered experimentally at JILA and has since been implemented elsewhere with various atomic species. Second, we discuss some of the results of an experimental realization of SWAP cooling and connect them to the theoretical model. Third, we propose the extension of the coherent mechanism underlying SWAP cooling to the additional task of trapping in a configuration named the “SWAP magneto-optical trap,” or “SWAP MOT.” Fourth, we propose a method to fundamentally speed up the adiabatic transfer process required for these techniques by using a shortcut-to-adiabaticity protocol based on Lewis-Riesenfeld invariants. Lastly, we propose and theoretically analyze a simple Gedankenexperiment which can be used to study the potential transfer of entropy from an ensemble of particles to a coherent light source.

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Department of Physics
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University of Colorado Boulder
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