Abstract

We demonstrate a method to count small numbers of atoms held in a deep, microscopic optical dipole trap by collecting fluorescence from atoms exposed to a standing wave of light that is blue detuned from resonance. While scattering photons, the atoms are cooled by a Sisyphus mechanism that results from the spatial variation in light intensity. The use of a small blue detuning limits the losses due to light-assisted collisions, thereby making the method suitable for counting several atoms in a microscopic volume.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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