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Summary form only given. In highly populated magneto-optical traps (MOT), cloud shape instabilities are often observed, but to our knowledge, no systematic studies of these collective dynamics have been performed so far, except in the particular case when the trapping beams are misaligned. The aim of the present study is to characterize the instabilities in the general case and to identify the underlying mechanisms.
Date of Conference: 10-15 Sept. 2000