Numerical simulations on the motion of atoms travelling through a standing-wave light field

S.J.H. Petra, K.A.H. van Leeuwen, L. Feenstra, W. Hogervorst, W. Vassen

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The motion of metastable helium atoms travelling through a standing light wave is investigated with a semi-classical numerical model. The results of a calculation including the velocity dependence of the dipole force are compared with those of the commonly used approach, which assumes a conservative dipole force. The comparison is made for two atom guiding regimes that can be used for the production of nanostructure arrays; a low power regime, where the atoms are focused in a standing wave by the dipole force, and a higher power regime, in which the atoms channel along the potential minima of the light field. In the low power regime the differences between the two models are negligible and both models show that, for lithography purposes, pattern widths of 150 nm can be achieved. In the high power channelling regime the conservative force model, predicting 100 nm features, is shown to break down. The model that incorporates velocity dependence, resulting in a structure size of 40 nm, remains valid, as demonstrated by a comparison with quantum Monte-Carlo wavefunction calculations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-91
JournalEuropean Physical Journal D. Atomic, Molecular, Optical and Plasma Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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