Single atoms in an optical dipole trap: towards a deterministic source of cold atoms

D Frese, B Ueberholz, S Kuhr, W Alt, D Schrader, V Gomer, D Meschede

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We describe a simple experimental technique which allows us to store a small and deterministic number of neutral atoms in an optical dipole trap. The desired atom number is prepared in a magneto-optical trap overlapped with a single focused Nd:YAG laser beam. Dipole trap loading efficiency of 100% and storage times of about one minute have been achieved. We have also prepared atoms in a certain hyperfine state and demonstrated the feasibility of a state-selective detection via resonance fluorescence at the level of a few neutral atoms. A spin relaxation time of the polarized sample of 4.2 +/- 0.7 a has been measured. Possible applications are briefly discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3777-3780
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2000


  • single atoms
  • optical dipole trap
  • deterministic source
  • cold atoms
  • neutral atoms
  • magneto-optical trap

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