It is often desirable in laser spectroscopy and isotope separation to extract as much as possible of an atomic or molecular population that is distributed among a number of ground-state sublevels and low-lying metastable levels. We describe a form of coherent trapping that occurs when multiple resonant laser beams are used to couple the various ground states to a common upper level. This effect prevents the extraction of the entire population. We then study the effect with two dye lasers and an atomic beam and suggest possible ways to maximize the pumping efficiency.
© 1978 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: August 31, 1978
Published: December 1, 1978
H. R. Gray, R. M. Whitley, and C. R. Stroud, "Coherent trapping of atomic populations," Opt. Lett. 3, 218-220 (1978)