We prepare a quasi-2D gas of argon atoms confined in a planar matter waveguide in close vicinity ( ) of a reflecting surface. The (anti-)nodes of a far off resonant standing light wave in front of the surface provide a confining potential for the atomic motion normal to the surface. A cloud of cold atoms that approaches the surface is compressed by deceleration in an evanescent field and loaded predominantly into one single potential well close to the surface by optical pumping. The spatial density achieved is more than 100 times higher than the density of the approaching atoms.
- Received 27 July 1998
©1998 American Physical Society