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Optical Forces in non-Monochromatic Light
Update time: 12-14-2018
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Speaker: Professor Harold Metcalf, Stony Brook University

Time: 9:00 am, December 14, 2018
Venue:Yizhi Hall (West Campus)


      Laser cooling of neutral atoms began in the early 1980’s and many things were accomplished. The simple model of a frequency of light acting on a two-level atom provided descriptions of beam slowing, optical molasses, optical traps, and a host of other phenomena. In the late 1980’ it became clear that not all experiments could be described by this simple, two-level model. Expanding to a multilevel atom description led Sisyphus cooling, magneto-optical traps, velocity selective coherent population trapping, and many other things. By contrast, there has been very little attention given to the complementary expansion, namely polychromatic light acting on a two level atoms.


    Dr. Harold Metcalf is a distinguished teaching professor in the department of Physics & astronomy at Stony Brook University. He is one of the pioneer of laser cooling, a technique in which a laser beam is shined on atoms and cools them down to temperatures of microkelvins, where quantum mechanical properties can be experimentally observed. In fact, he and a colleague wrote the book in it, “Laser Cooling and Trapping,” published in 1999. His role in the development of this vital scientific is considered so significant that when William D. Phillips was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 1997 for “development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light,” he recognized Metcalf in his Nobel autobiography. More recently he focused on ultra-strong optical forces with a huge velocity capture range provided by non-monochromatic light. These forces were recently exploited for atomic nanofabrication and cooling without spontaneous emission. He has published over 150 refereed papers, several review papers, the widely used Laser Cooling book, and their new book on atomic physics.

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