Acceleration, deceleration and separation of molecular ensembles in optical lattices

M. N. Shneider, P. F. Barker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Analysis of the trapped and untrapped motion of particles, combined with direct numerical simulation of the ID non-stationary Boltzmann equation, demonstrates that atoms and molecules initially at room temperature can be accelerated to velocities in the 10 to 100 km/s range over distances of 100's microns using an optical lattice. The quantity, final velocity, and velocity/energy spread of the accelerated distribution controlled by tailoring the fluence, duration and frequency chirp of the laser beam that make the lattice, indicating the potential for a compact, versatile, and configurable hyper-thermal accelerator/decelerator. Using similar lattice potentials, differential transport of atomic and molecular species with different polarizability/mass ratios leads towards the possibility of gas mixture separation in short pulses or in hollow fibers. A bulk drift can be induced in a gas by the lattice forces, even when the mean kinetic energy is much greater that the maximum dipole potential of the optical field. In this process the transfer of energy from the slowly traveling optical lattice to the gas is analogous to Landau damping of a plasma wave by charged particles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17
Pages (from-to)193-212
Number of pages20
JournalProceedings of SPIE - the International Society for Optical Engineering
Issue numberPART 1
Publication statusPublished - 2004
EventHigh-Power Laser Ablation V - Taos, NM, United States
Duration: 25 Apr 200430 Apr 2004


  • Boltzman equation
  • Distribution function
  • Drift
  • Landau damping
  • Optical lattice


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