Observation of Extra Photon Recoil in a Distorted Optical Field

20 Dec 2018  ·  Bade Satyanarayana, Djadaojee Lionel, Andia Manuel, Cladé Pierre, Guellati-Khélifa Saïda ·

Light carries momentum which induces on atoms a recoil for each photon absorbed. In vacuum, for a monochromatic beam of frequency $\nu$, the global momentum per photon is bounded by general principles and is smaller than $h \nu/c$ leading to a limit on the recoil... However, locally this limit can be broken. In this paper, we give a general formula to calculate the recoil in vacuum. We show that in a laser beam with a distorted optical field, there are regions where the recoil can be higher than this limit. Using atoms placed in those regions we are able to measure directly the extra recoil. read more

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Atomic Physics