, Volume 58, Issue 1, pp 69-73
Date: 13 Apr 2010

Modification of radiation pressure due to cooperative scattering of light

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Cooperative spontaneous emission of a single photon from a cloud of N atoms modifies substantially the radiation pressure exerted by a far-detuned laser beam exciting the atoms. On one hand, the force induced by photon absorption depends on the collective decay rate of the excited atomic state. On the other hand, directional spontaneous emission counteracts the recoil induced by the absorption. We derive an analytical expression for the radiation pressure in steady-state. For a smooth extended atomic distribution we show that the radiation pressure depends on the atom number via cooperative scattering and that, for certain atom numbers, it can be suppressed or enhanced. Cooperative scattering of light by extended atomic clouds can become important in the presence of quasi-resonant light and could be addressed in many cold atoms experiments.