We investigate the region of validity of the semiclassical approach to simulating laser cooling. We conclude that for the commonly used π<sup>x</sup>π<sup>y</sup> polarization-gradient configuration, the semiclassical approach is valid only for transitions with recoil parameters εr on the order of 10<sup>−4</sup> or less. For the standard laser-cooling transitions only the transitions in Rb and Cs satisfy this condition. For the Doppler and σ<sup>+</sup>σ<sup>−</sup> polarization-gradient configuration the semiclassical approach is valid for most of the commonly used transitions; however, the expected gain in execution speed compared with quantum Monte Carlo calculations has been realized only in part. A drastic reduction in calculation time is to be expected by implementing an analytical approach to the long-term contribution of the diffusion coefficient.
© 2005 Optical Society of America
Bart Smeets, Rudolf W. Herfst, Edwin te Sligte, Peter van der Straten, Herman C. Beijerinck, and Karel A. H. van Leeuwen, "Laser-cooling simulation based on the semiclassical approach," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 22, 2372-2377 (2005)