Abstract

We present an analytical treatment of the force on a two-level atom interacting with a three-dimensional optical molasses. We show that, for small misalignment of the molasses light fields, corresponding to the so-called supermolasses configuration, there can be a dynamically induced stabilization of the atomic motion. This stabilization increases the time required for the atom to diffuse out of the molasses region and therefore provides a novel explanation of experimental observations. We describe the stabilization effect by analogy with the stabilization of the Kapitza pendulum, which is subject to a harmonic modulation of the pendulum pivot point.

© 1994 Optical Society of America

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