We investigate the cooling of trapped atoms by electromagnetically induced transparency under conditions of weak confinement and beyond the LambDicke limit, i.e., the spontaneous decay width is large compared to the trap oscillation frequency and the recoil energy is a substantial fraction of the vibrational energy spacing of the trap. Numerical solutions of the Liouville equation for a density matrix describing states of vibrational and electronic degrees of freedom show that vibrational cooling is feasible at even substantial values of the LambDicke parameter and under conditions of weak confinement, a situation where sideband pumping is inefficient. Our approach permits us to predict cooling efficiency and cooling rates under realistic experimental conditions for neutral atoms in optical dipole traps.
