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Designing experiments for the study of atom diffraction from nanostructured optical potentials

In this article we illustrate important characteristics of the diffraction of cold atoms from periodic light potentials generated from coupling a light wave to dielectric nanostructures. We apply a recently developed theoretical approach to investigate the behavior of Cs atoms dropped onto a periodically modulated optical dipole potential where the period of the modulation is controlled by the periodicity of the dielectric array. These nanostructures take the form of one-dimensional line gratings or two-dimensional point gratings. We discuss several important parameters critical to the successful realisation of laboratory experiments and future atom-optical instrumentation using this new kind of atomic diffraction medium.