Spontaneous opto-mechanical structures in cold atomic gases

E. Tesio, G.R.M. Robb, T. Ackemann, P. Gomes, A. Arnold, W.J. Firth, G.L. Oppo, G. Labeyrie, R. Kaïser

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book


We theoretically, numerically and experimentally investigate spontaneous transverse instabilities in cold atomic gases, arising from the action of dispersive light forces. Previous research focused on pattern-forming instabilities in hot gases where optical nonlinearities arise from the internal structure of the atoms and spatio-temporal structures are encoded in the populations and coherences of the medium. Dipole forces acting on the center-of-mass of laser-cooled atoms, being dependent on gradients of the optical intensity, are also nonlinear in nature: previous studies focused, for instance, on beam filamentation [1]. Here we investigate the situation where a positive feedback loop is present in the system leading to a pattern-forming instability. We stress that the resulting spatial structures are encoded also in the spatial density distribution, effectively leading to the self-assembly of an optical atomic lattice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2013 Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics Europe and International Quantum Electronics Conference, CLEO/Europe-IQEC 2013
Number of pages1
ISBN (Print)9781479905935
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • self-assembly
  • laser cooling
  • optical feedback
  • optical lattices
  • opto-mechanical structures
  • cold atomic gases


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