Abstract

We apply a three-dimensional Doppler Monte Carlo simulation to study fluctuation in magneto-optical traps with various laser beam configurations. First, the temperature and the radius of a lithium trap are calculated with the assumption of exactly counterpropagating beams. The results are compared with previously reported experimental data [Opt. Commun. 158, 263 (1998)]. Subsequently, the role of fluctuation in the transition from a ball- to a ring-shaped spatial distribution of atoms is investigated. This transition occurs when the laser beams in the xy plane are progressively misaligned. Finally, the temperature of the atoms in a ring-shaped distribution is determined, and its dependence with the misalignment of the beams is analyzed.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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