We show that the dressed-atom approach provides a quantitative understanding of the main features of radiative dipole forces (mean value, fluctuations, velocity dependence) in the high-intensity limit where perturbative treatments are no longer valid. In an inhomogeneous laser beam, the energies of the dressed states vary in space, and this gives rise to dressed-state-dependent forces. Spontaneous transitions between dressed states lead to a multivalued instantaneous force fluctuating around a mean value. The velocity dependence of the mean force is related to the modification, induced by the atomic motion, of the population balance between the different dressed states. The corresponding modification of the atomic energy is associated with a change of the fluorescence spectrum emitted by the atom. The particular case of atomic motion in a standing wave is investigated, and two regimes are identified in which the mean dipole force averaged over a wavelength exhibits a simple velocity dependence. The large values of this force achievable with reasonable laser powers are pointed out with view to slowing down atoms with dipole forces.
© 1985 Optical Society of America
J. Dalibard and C. Cohen-Tannoudji, "Dressed-atom approach to atomic motion in laser light: the dipole force revisited," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 2, 1707-1720 (1985)