We present a method to create a blazed atomic diffraction grating by use of a periodical optical potential. Like its optical counterpart, the blazed atomic diffraction grating distributes intensity into a specific nonzero diffraction order. Total internal reflection of a laser beam coupled to the nanostructured surface of a prism results in transverse modulation of the intensity responsible for atomic diffraction. For specific illumination parameters and periodicity of the pattern, the long-range potential interacting with the atoms has an asymmetric sawtooth shape. Analytic and numerical calculations show that population diffracted in the +1 order can be optimized to approximately 55%, with almost no population into the -1 order.
© 2005 Optical Society of America
Gáetan Lévêque and Renaud Mathevet, "Blazed atom grating," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 22, 1554-1560 (2005)