Abstract

We investigated how the size of ring-shaped clouds of cold, magneto-optically trapped sodium atoms depends on the trapping parameters: magnetic-field gradient and laser intensity, detuning, and misalignment. The experiments were carried out in the low-density regime (N < 106 atoms), and the ring radius was shown to be independent of the number of trapped atoms. The results are explained with a simple model including a coordinate-dependent vortex force and the usual magneto-optical trap forces.

© 1994 Optical Society of America

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