Spontaneous atomic crystallization via diffractive dephasing in optical cavities

Ackemann, Thorsten and Costa Boquete, Adrian and Baio, Giuseppe and Robb, Gordon and Oppo, Gian-Luca and Griffin, Paul (2021) Spontaneous atomic crystallization via diffractive dephasing in optical cavities. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 1919 (1). 012014. ISSN 1742-6596 (https://doi.org/10.1088/1742-6596/1919/1/012014)

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The design of an experiment on the spontaneous crystallization of a laser-cooled, but thermal atomic cloud into a hexagonally structured phase is discussed. Atomic interaction is mediated by the dipole potential of an optical lattice formed spontaneously in a multi-mode degenerate cavity from single-mode longitudinal pumping. The length scale of the structure is given by the diffractive dephasing between the spontaneous sidebands and the on-axis pump. A linear stability indicates that the transition can be observed in a cavity of moderate finesse compatible with having the cavity mirrors outside the vacuum cell. A new anti-reflection coated cell has been assembled for this purpose.