OPTAMOT: Optimised Designs for Additively Manufactured Magneto Optical Traps

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Sch of Physics & Astronomy


The research team will undertake an iterative design activity, combining our Magneto Optical Trap (MOT) design and optimization experience with that of the Quantum Technology (QT) group at the University of Sussex and with the Design for Additive Manufacture (DfAM) capabilities at Added Scientific Ltd (ASL), a leading organisation in Additive Manufacturing Research.
In support of the above the following specific research activities will be undertaken:
- Prof Moriarty and Dr Campion will undertake characterization studies of the AM material in Ultra High Vacuum (UHV) environments via mass spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy methods to establish surface and out-gassing characteristics of the AM material in UHV environments at both elevated and cryogenic temperatures.
- Dr Hackermuller and Prof Fromhold will, in parallel with University of Sussex researchers, provide support across a number of iterative design, manufacture and test cycles producing ever more complex MOT assemblies that demonstrate integration of MOT magnetic field functions and other enabling functions including diffraction gratings, optical access
windows, cooling channels and weight reduction voids. Tasks will include Inverse method modelling and optimization with electromagnetics, optical element integration and test of prototypes.
- Mr Sims will contribute to the Systems Engineering and Market Studies activity of the project, working in partnership with ASL engineering and marketing staff.

Planned Impact

The project will provide an academic impact in fundamental cold atom research via research undertaken in optimising MOT technical characteristics. This will identify the use of new combinations of magnetic field strengths, laser characteristics and cold atom cloud shapes to optimise MOT design for specific applications. This will add to the fundamental research base, with established routes of scientific interaction being employed to disseminate results.

The project will also deliver significant impact on applied cold atom research nationally and internationally. The production of integrated MOT assemblies via AM will represent a step change in the maturity of the cold atoms research supply chain, with 'off the shelf' MOT designs removing the need for the bespoke MOT builds that typify current cold atom applied
research. Making available a key cold atom functionality that can simply be acquired and installed will significantly reduce the resources required to support applied research, enabling a significant increase in the level of cold atom activity being undertaken, whilst particularly facilitating the translation of cold atom technology into the commercial environment, as required to achieve the aspirations of the UK National QT Programme. Established connections to industry within the School of Physics and Astronomy and ASL will be leveraged, supporting the next step of Knowledge Transfer to industry. An example of such a connection that will be pursued by the project is based around the strategic partnership with e2v, a major UK electronics company, who have set up a unique semiconductor device fabrication and R&D facility within the School of Physics and Astronomy. e2v have, over the past three years, developed strong capability in cold atom quantum technology, including new dedicated laboratories and staff at their Chelmsford headquarters. e2v will be engaged as a key end user, building on their existing collaboration with Nottingham on MOT components. e2v's growing interest in cold atom technologies, and associated collaborations, provides a ready-made route for commercialising the MOT innovations that emerge from the project.

The team will seek, in collaboration with our partners, to engage widely with industry stakeholders and disseminate appropriate information about project progress to developers in the commercial sector, as well as using the team's existing cold atom senor development collaborations. The team is working closely with our partners in the UK hub for Quantum
Sensors and metrology on several projects, including for example the development of back-pack-sized cold-atom gravity sensors that could be revolutionised by the incorporation of new MOT functionalities. Similarly we have several efforts underway to better support the development of components for quantum sensors. This will provide an excellent means by
which to promote the potential of the AM MOT capabilities across UK cold-atom community, and to meet and work with
developers and end-users.
The project will also use the Knowledge Transfer Networks (KTNs) to broaden impact. In particular, we will use KTN interactive web portals to target potential beneficiaries. This will be complemented by presentations to key KTN personnel, using their expertise as a route to a wide range of connections. With growing commercial interest, the project will make use
of more direct tools of involvement, such as industry events.


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Description Result 1: proven concept of 3D printed vacuum chamber with a weight of < 1/3 of a conventional stainless steel chamber. This has the potential to revolutionise vacuum industry.
We with this we have proven existing expectations in the vacuum industry wrong - now have data to prove that AM materials and processes are suitable for manufacturing UHV chambers. (paper under review)

Result 2: we have developed laser systems based on 3D printed frames and materials with extremely high robustness and stability (patent, paper in preparation).

Result 3: developed 3D printed coils. (patent)

Collaborations: New collaboration established with the centre for additive manufacturing as well as ASL (Additive Scientific Ltd). New contact poitns with other companies establised

• Market study and contacts made have yielded many ideas for follow
on projects - challenge is now to engage end users and shape future

Follow on project currently in preparation.
Exploitation Route Our results have the potential to revolutionise vacuum industry in particular where light-weight applications and tailored designs are important. This is important e.g. for fundamental research experiments to be conducted in space and for a variety of quantum sensors expected to provide highly precise data.
Our results might also influence more traditional systems such as x-ray photo-electron spectroscopy, photo-sensors, cameras and cryostats.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Healthcare,Security and Diplomacy

Description Small 3D printed ultra high vacuum chambers have an enormous impact on all industries using UHV, such as cameras, photo detectors, scanning tunneling microscopes. The demonstration of our findings at Vacuum Expo, TCT and The Quantum Technology Showcase and generated huge interest. We have demonstrated that extremely light-weight, compact chambers are possible. This will enable portable sensors (particularly quantum sensors) and lead to new results in precision sensing, such as gravimetry, precision sensing in space,
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Education,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Title 3D printed methods and lasers for Quantum Technologies 
Description 3D printed designs were used to develop extremely compact and stable arrangements of optics. The optimal arrangement (only achievable with 3D printing) leads to short pathways and very compact optical setups. This modular approach can be applied to any optical setup and lead to compact and stable solutions. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Plug and play lasers and laser systems or optical systems. We have as an example demonstrated a laser frequency stabilisation based on Doppler-free spectroscopy. This is an important research tool used in many quantum tecnology applications. 
Description Optamot Collaboration 
Organisation Added Scientific Ltd
PI Contribution Collectively held IUK project. We developed 3D printed vacuum chambers and developed highly stable lasers and laser spectroscopy ensembles based on 3D printed frames. This project led to 2 publications and 2 patent applications. We are currently preparing a follow-on project for further applications and impact of the results found.
Collaborator Contribution ASL provided the 3D printing designs and know-how as well as regular meetings, connections to other collaboration partners.
Impact This project led to 2 publications and 2 patent applications. We are currently preparing a follow-on project for further applications and impact of the results found.
Start Year 2018