Direct Frequency Comb Laser Cooling and Trapping

A.M. Jayich, X. Long, W.C. Campbell 2016. PRX 6, 041004 (2016)


Ultracold atoms, produced by laser cooling and trapping, have led to recent advances in quantum information, quantum chemistry, and quantum sensors. A lack of ultraviolet narrow-band lasers precludes laser cooling of prevalent atoms such as hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen. Broadband pulsed lasers can produce high power in the ultraviolet, and we demonstrate that the entire spectrum of an optical frequency comb can cool atoms when used to drive a narrow two-photon transition. This multiphoton optical force is also used to make a magneto-optical trap. These techniques may provide a route to ultracold samples of nature’s most abundant building blocks for studies of pure-state chemistry and precision measurement.