Single-laser, one beam, tetrahedral magneto-optical trap

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We have realized a 4-beam pyramidal magneto-optical trap ideally suited for future microfabrication. Three mirrors split and steer a single incoming beam into a tripod of reflected beams, allowing trapping in the four-beam overlap volume. We discuss the influence of mirror angle on cooling and trapping, finding optimum efficiency in a tetrahedral configuration. We demonstrate the technique using an ex-vacuo mirror system to illustrate the previously inaccessible supra-plane pyramid MOT configuration. Unlike standard pyramidal MOTs both the pyramid apex and its mirror angle are non-critical and our MOT offers improved molasses free from atomic shadows in the laser beams. The MOT scheme naturally extends to a 2-beam refractive version with high optical access. For quantum gas experiments, the mirror system could also be used for a stable 3D tetrahedral optical lattice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13601-13608
Number of pages8
JournalOptics Express
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2009


  • neutral atoms
  • modulation
  • gas


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