Accelerating, guiding, and sub-wavelength trapping of neutral atoms with tailored optical vortices

Schulze D., Thakur A., Moskalenko A. S., and Berakdar J.

Ann. Phys. (Berlin) 529, pp 1600379 (2017)

Single neutral atom mechanics is controllable by focused, high-intensity optical vortices. The intensity-dependent, laser-driven motion of the atom's active electrons subsumes to a net transfer of the orbital angular momentum of the light to the neutral atom. The ponderomotive force on these electrons translates so into an unbounded or a bounded radial drift of the atom depending on its initial kinetic energy, as set by the temperature. Appropriate combination of laser beams results in sub-wavelength, dynamical radial traps for tweezing atoms controllably, an effect that can be exploited for atom guiding, structuring, and lithographic applications.

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