It has been experimentally detected that the laser irradiation of a rarefied flux of atoms in a capillary causes a reduction of their concentration at the output. It is established that this relative decrease is determined by the fraction of excited atoms. It is shown that the observed effect is associated with heating of the flux caused by superelastic collisions of the excited atoms with the wall of the capillary. The heating of the flux is described, taking into account the cooling of the superheated atoms on the wall of the capillary. An analysis of the experimental results leads to the conclusion that the accommodation coefficient of the energy of the hot atoms during impacts on the wall is close to unity. © 2004 Optical Society of America

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