Manipulation of atomic and molecular beams is essential to atom optics applications including atom lasers, atom lithography, atom interferometry and neutral atom microscopy. The manipulation of charge-neutral beams of limited polarizability, spin or excitation states remains problematic, but may be overcome by the development of novel diffractive or reflective optical elements. In this paper, we present the first experimental demonstration of atom focusing using an ellipsoidal mirror. The ellipsoidal mirror enables stigmatic off-axis focusing for the first time and we demonstrate focusing of a beam of neutral, ground-state helium atoms down to an approximately circular spot, (26.8 ± 0.5)μm × (31.4 ± 0.8)μm in size. The spot area is two orders of magnitude smaller than previous reflective focusing of atomic beams and is a critical milestone towards the construction of a high-intensity scanning helium microscope.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)