Self-cooling in a system of driven two-level atoms

R. Bonifacio, B.W.J. McNeil, G.R.M. Robb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate the evolution of a system of two-level atoms interacting with two counterpropagating radiation fields including the effects of atomic centre-of-mass motion. The analysis involves the numerical solution of a set of generalised Maxwell-Bloch equations. It is shown that, under different conditions, lasing in a system of non-inverted two-level atoms may be obtained due to the formation of either a population difference grating or a density grating. Furthermore a novel self-cooling effect within the driven atomic system is demonstrated and a possible experiment for the observation of this effect is described. This self-cooling is an example of phenomena in which both population difference grating effects and atomic centre-of-mass motion play a role.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalOptics Communications
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 1999


  • two-level atoms
  • Maxwell-Bloch equations
  • collective atomic recoil laser


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