A continuous cold atomic beam from a magneto-optical trap
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We have developed and characterized a new method to produce a continuous beam of cold atoms from a standard vapour-cell magneto-optical trap (MOT). The experimental apparatus is very simple. Using a single laser beam it is possible to hollow out in the source MOT a direction of unbalanced radiation pressure along which cold atoms can be accelerated out of the trap. The transverse cooling process that takes place during the extraction reduces the beam divergence. The atomic beam is used to load a magneto-optical trap operating in an ultra-high vacuum environment. At a vapour pressure of 10-8mbar in the loading cell, we have produced a continuous flux of 7×107atoms/s at the recapture cell with a mean velocity of 14 m/s. A comparison of this method with a pulsed transfer scheme is presented.
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