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Laser cooling of solids to cryogenic temperatures

Abstract

Laser radiation has been used to cool matter ranging from dilute gases to micromechanical oscillators. In Doppler cooling of gases, the translational energy of atoms is lowered through interaction with a laser field1,2. Recently, cooling of a high-density gas through collisional redistribution of radiation has been demonstrated3. In laser cooling of solids, heat is removed through the annihilation of lattice vibrations in the process of anti-Stokes fluorescence4,5,6. Since its initial observation in 1995, research7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15 has led to achieving a temperature of 208 K in ytterbium-doped glass16. In this Letter, we report laser cooling of ytterbium-doped LiYF4 crystal to a temperature of 155 K starting from ambient, with a cooling power of 90 mW. This is achieved by making use of the Stark manifold resonance in a crystalline host, and demonstrates the lowest temperature achieved to date without the use of cryogens or mechanical refrigeration. Optical refrigeration has entered the cryogenic regime, surpassing the performance of multi-stage Peltier coolers.

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Figure 1: Optical absorption, emission and cooling efficiency spectra of 5% doped Yb3+ ion in a YLF crystal.
Figure 2: Experimental arrangement and cooling data for Yb:YLF.
Figure 3: Parametric representation of the cooling efficiency in 5% doped Yb:YLF crystal.

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Acknowledgements

This work has been supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (MURI program), grant FA 9550-04-1-0356. The authors thank M.P. Hasselbeck and R.I. Epstein for helpful discussions and M.P. Hasselbeck for proofreading the manuscript. The authors would also like to acknowledge the skill and competence of I. Grassini in preparing the sample.

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D.V.S. and M.S.B. designed and implemented the experiments. D.V.S. and S.D.M. performed the experiments, designed radiation shielding and carried out calibrations. S.B., A.D.L. and M.T. grew and prepared the high-purity Yb:YLF crystals and provided supporting spectroscopic data. All authors contributed to the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mansoor Sheik-Bahae.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Seletskiy, D., Melgaard, S., Bigotta, S. et al. Laser cooling of solids to cryogenic temperatures. Nature Photon 4, 161–164 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2009.269

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