J. Phys. IV France
Volume 116, October 2004
Page(s) 205 - 210

J. Phys. IV France 116 (2004) 205-210

DOI: 10.1051/jp4:2004116007

Single atoms in optical traps

S. Bergamini, B. Darquié, A. Browaeys and P. Grangier

Laboratoire Charles Fabry de l'Institut d'Optique, CNRS UMR 8501, 91403 Orsay, France

We present a brief overview of optical trapping experiments of individual neutral atoms. Then we describe in more details an experiment using a very small optical dipole trap, that is designed to store and manipulate individual atoms. Due to the very small dipole trap volume, a "collisional blockade" mechanism locks the average number of trapped atoms on the value 0.5 over a large range of loading rates. We study this regime experimentally, and we describe methods to measure the oscillation frequencies and the temperature of a single atom in the trap with a high accuracy.

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