We report on a far above saturation absorption imaging technique to investigate the characteristics of dense packets of ultracold atoms. The transparency of the cloud is controlled by the incident light intensity as a result of the nonlinear response of the atoms to the probe beam. We detail our experimental procedure to calibrate the imaging system for reliable quantitative measurements and demonstrate the use of this technique to extract the profile and its spatial extent of an optically thick atomic cloud.
© 2007 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: July 30, 2007
Revised Manuscript: September 13, 2007
Manuscript Accepted: September 14, 2007
Published: October 23, 2007
G. Reinaudi, T. Lahaye, Z. Wang, and D. Guéry-Odelin, "Strong saturation absorption imaging of dense clouds of ultracold atoms," Opt. Lett. 32, 3143-3145 (2007)