gMOT: Scalable manufacture and evaluation of miniature cold atom traps

Lead Research Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Department Name: Physics


The gMOT project will play a key role in the UK's strategic programme to bring the remarkable new capabilities of quantum physics out of research labs and into real world applications. Kelvin Nanotechnology, TMD Technologies and the Universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow have teamed up to create the first miniature cold atom trap source for deployable quantum technologies. This will bring together key processes developed by the partners in areas that include diffractive optics design and fabrication, innovative bonding and sealing methods, physics package encapsulation, complex alkali metal vapour filling techniques and performance evaluation methods. Combining these individual technologies into working prototypes units will also enable rigorous testing by industrial users to assess performance, stability and suitability for the next generation of quantum technology systems in a wide variety of industrial applications.

Planned Impact

The potential disruptive nature of Quantum Technology has been recognised by the UK Government through its investment in the area announced in 2013. Through the ongoing translational work in e.g. atomic sensors and metrology it is becoming increasingly clear, that potential commercial devices will share a range of common components or build on shared platforms in areas such as laser sources, optical systems, vacuum technology and control electronics.
Close integration of component development between highly specialised technology providers and academia provide the foundation for the translation of some of the research-based outcomes (e.g. from the Quantum Technology Hubs) to the industrial environment and early adopters. This is also a key component in the strategic development of the UK supply chain, that will ultimately form the basis for a new Quantum Technology industry.
With the present proposal, we seek to build on links with two industrial collaborators with significant expertise relevant for the creation of autonomous and miniaturised vacuum systems for cold-atom based sensor and metrology applications. While the technology will be developed specifically for laser cooling of Rb, and hence aimed at a substantial fraction of both the research market and the expected early commercial applications, it is a generic technology, that readily can be adapted to e.g. other alkali metal or alkaline earth systems. It is therefore anticipated that the impact of the work will extend beyond the immediate applications with significant potential for commercial exploitation to areas such as the basic research environment and space applications.
For additional information, see Pathways to Impact statement


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Description Techniques developed for scalable manufacture of components for laser cooled atom setups.
Exploitation Route Potential for commercialisation by industrial partners.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine