Title: Experiments with ultracold atoms in optical and magnetic potentials

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Oxford Physics


The project uses an existing apparatus for producing quantum gases at temperatures of tens of nanokelvin by laser cooling and magnetic trapping of rubidium atoms. Quantum degenerate gases of ultracold atoms enable a wide variety of experiments to be carried out to investigate quantum phenomena.

* Aims and objectives

A new scheme will be implemented for confining ultracold atoms in a dipole potential that can be dynamically controlled and shaped by a diffractive optical element such as acousto-optical deflectors. This apparatus will enable the investigation of properties such as quantum tunnelling in new confinement geometries and superfluid flow. The experiments will be extended to use a mixture of two species, i.e. atoms in two different states of the Rb-87 isotope or two species of atoms, thus giving conditions where a few atoms of one species act as `impurities' immersed in a quantum gas.

* Novelty of the research methodology

Previously the experimental work in Oxford has been carried out with a single atomic species in a magnetic trap but in the near future the additional lasers required for dual-species experiments will be set up and tested. Kathrin will develop a system that combines dipole force trapping with the existing magnetic trapping. She will also work on a optical system to detect individual atoms and so allow us to work with highly imbalanced mixtures, i.e., a few impurity atoms within a quantum gas. These impurities can probe local properties of these quantum systems in new ways.

* Alignment to EPSRC's strategies and research areas (which EPSRC research area her project relates to)

The project fundamental atomic physics which underpins a lot of the research work on quantum sensors based on ultracold atoms, in particular atom interferometry.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509711/1 30/09/2016 29/09/2021
1742766 Studentship EP/N509711/1 30/09/2015 31/03/2019 Kathrin Luksch
Description We have calculated transitions of atoms dressed with multiple frequencies in the RF domain. We have verified these calculations experimentally, by measuring the loss spectrum of atoms trapped in an RF-dressed potential when probed with an additional frequency. We have observed higher-order transitions and uncovered transitions that were previously assumed to be forbidden. These result from the non-linearity of the Zeeman effect even in low field amplitudes, where the mF states are still well-defined.
Exploitation Route These findings can immediately be put to use by anyone who uses RF-dressed potentials to confine atoms. These potentials are particularly suitable to matter-wave interference experiments, and can be minituarised using chips to generate the fields.
Additionally, the theoretical findings are interesting to a broad audience interested in multi-frequency phenomena and are extendable to a wide range of applications.
Sectors Other

URL https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:6ca50fa4-e93c-4cb0-988a-f22526714abd