The XYZ of imaging cold atomic samples
Abstract: I shall give a brief overview of the technical aspects involved in imaging cold atomic samples. First, I quickly refresh the transverse (XY) aspects of imaging, including aberrations and resolution, all within the usual Fourier optics framework. Then, I dwell in the problem of recorded intensity (Z), by listing common sources of technical noise present in most sensors. Finally, I review popular imaging methods while highlighting their advantages and limitations, from fluorescence through bright and dark field, resonant absorption, dispersive phase contrast, faraday rotation, and holographic imaging.