Cooling mechanisms in potassium magneto-optical traps
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We report on a theoretical and experimental investigation of 39K magneto-optical trapping. The small hyperfine splitting characterizing the upper level of the cooling transition affects the cooling mechanism. In order to model the atom-laser interaction, the whole level structure of the D2 line has to be taken into account. Two different regimes have been recognized, one optimizing the loading of the trap, the second minimizing the temperature of the atoms. We investigated these two regimes experimentally and found results in agreement with the theoretical predictions.
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