We have measured the loading and loss rates in a magneto-optical trap only with a few atoms by directly counting atom-number changing events. Unambiguous formulas are presented for the calculation of those rates from a step-wise time sequence of the fluorescence of the trapped atoms. With a recently developed atom-number feedback technique we could efficiently measure the loading rate as a function of the magnetic field gradient for the initial number of trapped atoms of zero. We could also measure the one- and two-atom loss rates as functions of the trap laser intensity for a precisely prepared initial number of trapped atoms. Each of these rates has been measured independently by directly counting the corresponding atom-number-changing events, without any influence from or inference to the other rates.
|Journal||Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics|
|Publication status||Published - 2007 Jul 10|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics