Abstract

We use the multiple-time-scale perturbation technique to treat the long interaction time limit of atomic scattering from a standing light wave, i.e., the atomic Kapitza–Dirac effect. The use of the method is restricted to an exactly resonant interaction and an oblique angle of incidence. We develop the theory in some detail in view of its general applicability to a large class of physical phenomena. The accuracy of the ensuing analytical expressions is tested against exact numerical computations of the effect, and the allowed ranges of the parameters are given with reference to the actual atomic experiments. For moderately large values of the parameters that characterize the field strength and the photon recoil, the method is found to give excellent approximations for the long-time behavior, whereas straightforward perturbation expansions diverge because of unbounded secular terms.

© 1991 Optical Society of America

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