Carrier-free Raman manipulation of trapped neutral atoms

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René Reimann, Wolfgang Alt, Tobias Macha, Dieter Meschede, Natalie Thau, Seokchan Yoon, Lothar Ratschbacher


New J. Phys. 16 113042

We experimentally realize an enhanced Raman control scheme for neutral atoms that features an intrinsic suppression of the two-photon carrier transition, but retains the sidebands which couple to the external degrees of freedom of the trapped atoms. This is achieved by trapping the atom at the node of a blue detuned standing wave dipole trap, that acts as one field for the two-photon Raman coupling. The improved ratio between cooling and heating processes in this configuration enables a five times lower fundamental temperature limit for resolved sideband cooling. We apply this method to perform Raman cooling to the two-dimensional vibrational ground state and to coherently manipulate the atomic motion. The presented scheme requires minimal additional resources and can be applied to experiments with challenging optical access, as we demonstrate by our implementation for atoms strongly coupled to an optical cavity.