Reflection of cold atoms by a cobalt single crystal
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We have demonstrated that a cobalt single crystal can be used to make a remarkably smooth retro-reflector for cold paramagnetic atoms. The crystal is cut so that its surface lies in the (0001) plane and the atoms are reflected by the magnetic field above the surface due to the self-organized pattern of magnetic domains in the material. We find that the reflectivity for suitably polarized atoms exceeds 90% and may well be unity. We use the angular spread of a reflected atom cloud to measure the roughness of the mirror. We find that the angular variation of the equivalent hard reflecting surface is (3.1±0.3°)rms for atoms dropped onto the mirror from a height of 2 cm.
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