All-optical production and trapping of metastable noble-gas atoms down to the single-atom regime
1 Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker Centre for Science and Peace Research, University of Hamburg 20144 Hamburg, Germany
2 Institut für Laser- Physik, University of Hamburg - 22761 Hamburg, Germany
Received: 10 July 2014
Accepted: 23 September 2014
The determination of isotope ratios of noble-gas atoms has many applications, e.g., in physics, nuclear-arms control, and Earth sciences. For several applications, the concentration of specific noble-gas isotopes (e.g., Kr and Ar) is so low that single-atom detection is highly desirable for a precise determination of the concentration. As an important step in this direction, we demonstrate the operation of a krypton atom trap trace analysis (ATTA) setup based on a magneto-optical trap (MOT) for metastable Kr atoms excited by all-optical means. Compared to other state-of-the-art techniques for preparing metastable noble-gas atoms, all-optical production is capable of overcoming limitations regarding minimal probe volume and avoiding cross-contamination of the samples. In addition, it allows for a compact and reliable setup. We identify optimal parameters of our experimental setup by employing the most abundant isotope 84Kr, and demonstrate single-atom detection within a 3D MOT.
PACS: 37.10.Gh – Atom traps and guides / 37.10.De – Atom cooling methods / 32.50.+d – Fluorescence, phosphorescence (including quenching)
© EPLA, 2014