Suppressed spontaneous emission for coherent momentum transfer

Xueping Long, Scarlett S. Yu, Andrew M. Jayich, Wesley C. Campbell
PRL 123, 033603 (2019)

Strong optical forces with minimal spontaneous emission are desired for molecular deceleration and atom interferometry applications. We report experimental benchmarking of such a stimulated optical force driven by ultrafast laser pulses. We apply this technique to accelerate atoms, demonstrating up to an average of 19ħk momentum transfers per spontaneous emission event. This represents more than an order of magnitude improvement in suppression of spontaneous emission compared to radiative scattering forces. For molecular beam slowing, this technique is capable of delivering a many-fold increase in the achievable time-averaged force to significantly reduce both the slowing distance and detrimental losses to dark vibrational states.