Abstract

In the past, interpretation of light-induced drift (LID) effects in alkali–noble gas mixtures in capillary cells has been severely complicated by surface interactions. As an example, the velocity of the optical piston, a spectacular manifestation of LID, is limited by adsorption–desorption processes to a value in the mm/s range.1 Recently, a breakthrough has been made: by coating the capillary wall with paraffin the surface interaction has been completely eliminated leading to transport velocities in the m/s range and allowing a study of LID in its pure form.2 Here we report the first measurements of the detuning and intensity dependence of the drift velocity in Na–noble gas mixtures and compare these to theory.

© 1987 Optical Society of America

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