Europhys. Lett.
Volume 74, Number 1, April 2006
Page(s) 36 - 42
Section Atomic and molecular physics
Published online 08 March 2006
Europhys. Lett., 74 (1), pp. 36-42 (2006)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2005-10514-3

van der Waals - Zeeman transitions of metastable neon atoms passing through a micro-slit copper grating

J.-C. Karam, J. Grucker, M. Boustimi, F. Perales, V. Bocvarski, J. Baudon, G. Vassilev, J. Robert and M. Ducloy

Laboratoire de Physique des Lasers (UMR-CNRS no. 7538) Université Paris 13 - Av. J. B. Clément, 93430 Villetaneuse, France

received 6 December 2005; accepted in final form 14 February 2006
published online 8 March 2006

Surface-induced transitions between Zeeman sub-levels of metastable neon atoms traversing a micro-slit copper grating are investigated. The quadrupolar part of the surface van der Waals interaction suddenly perturbs the evolution of the Zeeman sub-levels in a magnetic field B, giving rise to van der Waals - Zeeman transitions. Exothermal inelastic transitions are identified by the related deflection $\gamma $. In a diagram ($\gamma $, B1/2) the location of the inelastic peaks is fitted by straight lines of slopes proportional to $\vert\Delta m\vert^{-1/2}$, where $\Delta m$ is the magnetic number change.

34.50.Dy - Interactions of atoms and molecules with surfaces; photon and electron emission; neutralization of ions.
03.75.Be - Matter waves: Atom and neutron optics.
12.20.Fv - Quantum electrodynamics: Experimental tests.

© EDP Sciences 2006