- We consider the momentum diffusion of atoms moving in a standing-wave laser field. We show how the correlation-function approach as originally applied to atoms at rest can be generalized to derive the velocity dependence of the momentum diffusion coefficient in standing waves, and that it gives results in agreement with the transport-equation approach to laser cooling. As an example we apply our calculations to determine the achievements of laser cooling in intense fields where cooling may occur around a nonvanishing velocity. Here we obtain temperatures which are 30% lower than the corresponding minimum obtained around zero velocity. Our explicit calculations involve usage of the optical Bloch equations, the quantum regression theorem, and the matrix continued-fraction method. 1993 The American Physical Society.