We develop an optical-Bloch-equation approach for modeling ultracold-atom collisions in optical traps. The method incorporates a molecular picture of the atomic collision, laser-field dressing of the molecular states participating in the dynamics, and decay of the population and polarization due to spontaneous emission of excited states. The last is important to incorporate because the duration of the cold collisions is longer than the excited-state lifetimes. The relative motion of the atoms during the course of the collision is treated semiclassically with corrections for the time-dependent relative motion of the atoms in the various channels. An application of the method to Cs trap loss due to fine-structure-changing collisions is presented. Good agreement with experiment is obtained.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics