Abstract:
We address the problem of achieving a random laser with a cloud of cold atoms, in which gain and scattering are provided by the same atoms. In this system, the elastic scattering cross-section is related to the complex atomic polarizability. As a consequence, the random laser threshold is expressed as a function of this polarizability, which can be fully determined by spectroscopic measurements. We apply this idea to experimentally evaluate the threshold of a random laser based on Raman gain between non-degenerate Zeeman states and find a critical optical thickness on the order of 200, which is within reach of state-of-the-art cold-atom experiments.

Abstract:
Atoms can scatter light and they can also amplify it by stimulated emission. From this simple starting point, we examine the possibility of realizing a random laser in a cloud of laser-cooled atoms. The answer is not obvious as both processes (elastic scattering and stimulated emission) seem to exclude one another: pumping atoms to make them behave as amplifier reduces drastically their scattering cross-section. However, we show that even the simplest atom model allows the efficient combination of gain and scattering. Moreover, supplementary degrees of freedom that atoms offer allow the use of several gain mechanisms, depending on the pumping scheme. We thus first study these different gain mechanisms and show experimentally that they can induce (standard) lasing. We then present how the constraint of combining scattering and gain can be quantified, which leads to an evaluation of the random laser threshold. The results are promising and we draw some prospects for a practical realization of a random laser with cold atoms.

Abstract:
We develop an ab initio analytic theory of random lasing in an ensemble of atoms that both scatter and amplify light. The theory applies all the way from low to high density of atoms. The properties of the random laser are controlled by an Euclidean matrix with elements equal to the Green's function of the Helmholtz equation between pairs of atoms in the system. Lasing threshold and the intensity of laser emission are calculated in the semiclassical approximation. The results are compared to the outcome of the diffusion theory of random lasing.

Abstract:
We consider light trapping in an amplifying medium consisting of cold alkali-metal atoms; the atomic gas plays a dual role as a scattering and as a gain medium. We perform Monte-Carlo simulations for the combined processes. In some configurations of the inhomogeneous distribution this leads to a point of instability behavior and a signature of random lasing in a cold atomic gas.

Abstract:
We present a nonperturbative treatment of coherent backscattering of intense laser light from cold atoms, and predict a nonvanishing backscattering signal even at very large intensities, due to the constructive (self-)interference of inelastically scattered photons.

Abstract:
We propose the novel combination of a laser guide and magnetic lens to transport a cold atomic cloud. We have modelled the loading and guiding of a launched cloud of cold atoms with the optical dipole force. We discuss the optimum strategy for loading typically 30% of the atoms from a MOT and guiding them vertically through 22cm. However, although the atoms are tightly confined transversely, thermal expansion in the propagation direction still results in a density loss of two orders of magnitude. By combining the laser guide with a single impulse from a magnetic lens we show one can actually increase the density of the guided atoms by a factor of 10.

Abstract:
Using the transfer matrix method, we numerically compute the precise position of the mobility edge of atoms exposed to a laser speckle potential, and study its dependence vs. the disorder strength and correlation function. Our results deviate significantly from previous theoretical estimates using an approximate self-consistent approach of localization. In particular we find that the position of the mobility edge in blue-detuned speckles is much lower than in the red-detuned counterpart, pointing out the crucial role played by the asymmetric on-site distribution of speckle patterns.

Abstract:
The paper investigates cold molecules formation in the photoassociation of two cold atoms by a strong laser pulse applied at short interatomic distances, which lead to a molecular dynamics taking place in the light-induced (adiabatic) potentials. A two electronic states model in the cesium dimer is used to analyse the effects of this strong coupling regime and to show specific results: i) acceleration of the ground state population to the inner zone due to a non-impulsive regime of coupling at short and intermediate interatomic distances; ii) formation of cold molecules in strongly bound levels of the ground state, where the population at the end of the pulse is much bigger than the population photoassociated in bound levels of the excited state; iii) the final momentum distribution of the ground state wavepacket keeping the signatures of the maxima in the initial wavefunction continuum. It is shown that the topology of the light-induced potentials plays an important role in dynamics.

Abstract:
We give a detailed derivation of the master equation description of the coherent backscattering of laser light by cold atoms. In particular, our formalism accounts for the nonperturbative nonlinear response of the atoms when the injected intensity saturates the atomic transition. Explicit expressions are given for total and elastic backscattering intensities in the different polarization channels, for the simplest nontrivial multiple scattering scenario of intense laser light multiply scattering from two randomly placed atoms.

Abstract:
We propose a Gaussian scalar field theory in a curved 2D metric with an event horizon as the low-energy effective theory for a weakly confined, invariant Random Matrix ensemble (RME). The presence of an event horizon naturally generates a bath of Hawking radiation, which introduces a finite temperature in the model in a non-trivial way. A similar mapping with a gravitational analogue model has been constructed for a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) pushed to flow at a velocity higher than its speed of sound, with Hawking radiation as sound waves propagating over the cold atoms. Our work suggests a three-fold connection between a moving BEC system, black-hole physics and unconventional RMEs with possible experimental applications.