Trapping fermionic and bosonic helium atoms
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This thesis presents experimental and theoretical work performed at the Laser Centre of the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam to study laser-cooled metastable triplet helium atoms. Samples containing about 3x10^8 helium atoms-either fermionic helium-3 atoms, bosonic helium-4 atoms or mixtures thereof-are cooled to a temperature around 1 mK and form the starting point of the presented studies. The studies include an investigation of cold ionizing collisions in the absence of resonant light, an investigation of magneto-optical trapping with ultraviolet light, a feasibility study of an atomic fountain clock based on metastable helium-3 atoms and the first demonstration of magneto-optical trapping of an isotopic mixture of metastable helium atoms.