Feedback Cooling of a Single Neutral Atom

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M. Koch, C. Sames, A. Kubanek, M. Apel, M. Balbach, A. Ourjoumtsev, P.W.H. Pinkse, G. Rempe


Physical Review Letters 105, 173003 (2010)
doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.105.173003

We demonstrate feedback cooling of the motion of a single rubidium atom trapped in a high-finesse optical resonator to a temperature of about 160  μK. Time-dependent transmission and intensity-correlation measurements prove the reduction of the atomic position uncertainty. The feedback increases the 1/e storage time into the 1 s regime, 30 times longer than without feedback. Feedback cooling therefore rivals state-of-the-art laser cooling, but with the advantages that it requires less optical access and exhibits less optical pumping.