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Kinetic theory for transverse optomechanical instabilities

Tesio, Enrico and Robb, Gordon and Ackemann, Thorsten and Firth, William and Oppo, Gian-Luca (2014) Kinetic theory for transverse optomechanical instabilities. Physical Review Letters, 112 (4). ISSN 0031-9007

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Abstract

We investigate transverse symmetry-breaking instabilities emerging from the optomechanical coupling between light and the translational degrees of freedom of a collisionless, damping-free gas of cold, two-level atoms. We develop a kinetic theory that can also be mapped on to the case of an electron plasma under ponderomotive forces. A general criterion for the existence and spatial scale of transverse instabilities is identified; in particular, we demonstrate that monotonically decreasing velocity distribution functions are always unstable.