Document Type



Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor's Name

Kenneth A. Hardy

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

John T. Landrum

Third Advisor's Name

Yifu Zhu

Fourth Advisor's Name

John W. Sheldon

Date of Defense



The high velocity of free atoms associated with the thermal motion, together with the velocity distribution of atoms has imposed the ultimate limitation on the precision of ultrahigh resolution spectroscopy. A sample consisting of low velocity atoms would provide a substantial improvement in spectroscopy resolution.

To overcome the problem of thermal motion, atomic physicists have pursued two goals; first, the reduction of the thermal motion (cooling); and second, the confinement of the atoms by means of electromagnetic fields (trapping). Cooling carried sufficiently far, eliminates the motional problems, whereas trapping allows for long observation times.

In this work the laser cooling and trapping of an argon atomic beam will be discussed. The experiments involve a time-of-flight spectroscopy on metastable argon atoms. Laser deceleration or cooling of atoms is achieved by counter propagating a photon against an atomic beam of metastable atoms. The solution to the Doppler shift problem is achieved using spatially varying magnetic field along the beam path to Zeeman shift the atomic resonance frequency so as to keep the atoms in resonance with a fixed frequency cooling laser.

For trapping experiments a Magnetooptical trap (MOT) will be used. The MOT is formed by three pairs of counter-propagating laser beams with mutual opposite circular polarization and a frequency tuned slightly below the center of the atomic resonance and superimposed on a magnetic quadrupole field.




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