Observation of Parametric Resonance in a Magneto-Optical Trap
We demonstrate parametric resonance in a magneto-optical trap. When we modulate the intensity of the cooling laser at about twice the resonant frequency of the trap, the atoms in the trap are divided into two parts and oscillate with 180 degree phase difference with the finite length due to nonlinearity of the trap potential. These are the effects of general nonlinear dynamics, called the Hopf bifurcation, or limit cycle motion. The amplitude and the phase of the oscillations are measured and compared with the theoretical calculations based on simple Doppler cooling theory. The experimental results are in excellent agreement with the simulation results based on the simple Doppler cooling theory.
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