Sub-optical wavelength atomic gratings generated in a time-domain interferometer

Andrey Turlapov, D. V. Strekalov, A. Kumarakrishnan, S. B. Cahn, A. Karpf, Tycho Sleator

    Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


    We have studied sub-optical wavelength atomic gratings generated by the interference of atomic de Broglie waves in a time-domain interferometer. Three short optical standing-wave pulses, detuned from resonance with a cloud of approximately 100 μK 85Rb atoms, act as phase gratings for atomic matter waves. Shortly after the first pulse, a modulation in the atomic density containing spatial harmonics of period λ/2N appears (λ is the optical wavelength, and N is any integer) and then rapidly vanishes due to the atomic thermal motion. The cloud maintains phase memory of this modulation, however, and the second pulse (applied at time T after the first one) results in a temporal sequence of atomic density gratings of periods λ/2N. The appearance of a grating is referred to as an echo. The third pulse (and a subsequent traveling wave pulse) is used to detect these gratings. By this technique, we have created and detected in real time a grating with period λ/4 at time 1.5 T after the first pulse and observed new types of `echoes' caused by interaction of the de Broglie waves with all three phase gratings. This ability to produce sub-wavelength structures makes our techniques applicable to atomic beam lithography.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)234-235
    Number of pages2
    JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
    StatePublished - 1999
    EventProceedings of the 1999 18th Congress of the International Commission for Optics (ICO XVIII): Optics for the Next Millennium - San Francisco, CA, USA
    Duration: Aug 2 1999Aug 6 1999

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
    • Condensed Matter Physics
    • Computer Science Applications
    • Applied Mathematics
    • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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