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We describe a new class of atom-laser coupling schemes which lead to spin-orbit coupled Hamiltonians for ultra-cold neutral atoms. By properly setting the optical phases, a pair of degenerate pseudospin states emerge as the lowest energy states in the spectrum, and are thus immune to collisionally induced decay. These schemes use $N$ cyclically coupled ground or metastable internal states. We specialize to two situations: a three level case giving fixed Rashba coupling, and a four-level casedoi:10.1103/physreva.84.025602 fatcat:kc4y34qzjng53kz2gjeliqv2lu