Abstract

We study spin relaxation of optically trapped atoms that is due to light scattering from the trap laser. We observe relaxation times greater than 2 s for ground-state hyperfine-level populations of 85Rb atoms trapped in an optical dipole force trap operating as much as 65 nm to the red of the D1 line. The measured relaxation rate can be more than 100 times slower than the atoms’ total spontaneous scatter rate from the trap laser. This enhancement in atomic ground-state lifetime is due to an interference effect in spontaneous Raman scattering far from atomic resonance.

© 1994 Optical Society of America

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