Optical manipulation of helium(2(3)S) atoms with a diode laser
Bixler, David Lynn
Master of Arts
A commercial Spectra Diode Laboratories, 1.083 $\mu$m diode laser has been used to efficiently spin polarize an atomic beam of He(2$\sp3$S) metastable atoms by optical pumping on the $\rm 2\sp3S\sb1\rightarrow2\sp3P\sb1$ (D1) transition. The diode laser is an InGaAs/GaAs strained multiquantum well with a distributed Bragg reflector to insure single longitudinal mode operation. The laser has been frequency stabilized to less than 1 MHz/hr drift. The helium metastable atom beam is produced by electron impact and the polarization is measured using a Stern-Gerlach analyzer. Atomic polarizations exceeding 97% have been obtained with $\sim$25 mW of power from the diode laser. A number of experiments currently under construction may also make use of the diode laser. These include the production of a spin polarized helium ion beam by optically pumping the metastable atoms in an rf discharge, and the trapping of helium metastable atoms in a magneto-optical trap (MOT).