QuDOS: Quantum technologies using Diffractive Optical Structures

Lead Research Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Department Name: Physics


The project will develop a compact and simplified apparatus for the preparation of cold atomic samples. Conventionally, a
multiple beam geometry is required to laser cool and trap atoms and, with this, comes a corresponding overhead of optical
components within a mechanical framework. Here, we propose to use a novel approach in which all the beams required for
cooling and trapping are generated by a single beam reflected from a grating chip. The technique has wide relevance to
quantum technologies as it forms the primary stage for all atomic sensing devices including gravimeters, inertial sensors
and clocks. The project brings the academic excellence of the University of Strathclyde together with the industrial knowhow
of M Squared Lasers to exploit this world-leading innovation from the UK's research base. We will take it closer to
commercialisation by commissioning a chip trap within an industrial environment, enhancing the technique and
demonstrating measurement capability.


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McGilligan James P. (2016) Diffraction grating characterisation for cold-atom experiments in arXiv e-prints

Description The operating wavelength range of the diffraction gratings we use for simplifying cold atom experiments has been shown to be very broad.
Exploitation Route The findings - broadband functionality of the diffraction gratings - mean the same gratings can be easily utilized with different atomic species.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine

Description Grating magneto-optical traps were first realised in experiments at the University of Strathclyde, and now at other universities around the world. In this project we made the first demonstration of a grating magneto-optical trap in a non-academic setting (at our partner M2 lasers). The grating approach has a much smaller optical footprint than conventional systems and is likely to lead to compact commercial systems for use in metrology, e.g. portable atomic clocks.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Other
Impact Types Policy & public services

Description Quantum technologies
Amount £93,055 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/R002371/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2017 
End 03/2018
Title Diffraction grating characterisation for cold-atom experiments 
Description The premise of the associated paper focusses around the characterisation of micro-fabricated diffraction gratings with an aim towards implementation as a compact source for cold atoms. This characterisation entails an in-depth study of the effect of periodicity, duty cycle and coatings as a function of the diffraction efficiency. Furthermore, the paper offers a brief description of experimental critical parameters of implementation such as the tilt angle and incident wavelength. The Dataset comprises 5 Excel files, with the data used to create figures 3,4,5 and 6. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact n/a