Comparative investigation of 39K and 40K trap loss rates: alternative loss channel at low light intensities
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We report a comparative investigation of trap loss rates in a magneto-optical trap for two potassium isotopes, 39K and 40K, as a function of trap light intensity. The isotopes present a quite similar behavior for the loss rates at high intensities, and a sudden increase of the loss rates at low intensities is present in both cases. While for 39K such increase can be explained assuming that the major contribution to the losses comes from hyperfine changing collisions, a different loss mechanism must be considered for 40K, which has an inverted ground state hyperfine structure. The experimental results of both isotopes are well reproduced by an alternative model based on radiative escape as the dominant loss mechanism.
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