Versatile two-dimensional potentials for ultra-cold atoms

S. K. Schnelle, E. D. van Ooijen, M. J. Davis, N. R. Heckenberg and H. Rubinsztein-Dunlop

We propose and investigate a technique for generating smooth two-dimensional potentials for ultra-cold atoms based on the rapid scanning of a far-detuned laser beam using a two-dimensional acousto-optical modulator (AOM). We demonstrate the implementation of a feed-forward mechanism for fast and accurate control of the spatial intensity of the laser beam, resulting in improved homogeneity for the atom trap. This technique could be used to generate a smooth toroidal trap that would be useful for static and dynamic experiments on superfluidity and persistent currents with ultra-cold atoms.