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Can Someone Explain the Ac Stark Shift in Layman's Terms

  1. Jan 23, 2012 #1
    Can someone explain how the Stark Effect works in Layman's terms? I'm trying to understand how an electric field can cool down atoms. What is the electric field doing exactly to the atoms? How is it lowering the atomic energy levels?

    Is there a difference between Stark Shifting and Stark Splitting?

    Also, what is a polarization gradient and how does it apply to cooling atoms? In layman's terms please.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 8, 2012 #2
    not sure if you are still looking but if you are i will try to help.

    I have to make a presentation on this subject to my laser physics class [graduate level] so I am trying to understand it still myself.

    The Stark effect is the electric analogue of the Zeeman effect where a spectral line is split into several components due to the presence of a magnetic field.another term to search on is sisyphus cooling. so the electric field causes the degenerate levels to be split apart since the quantum numbers each react differently to the applied field.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2012
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