Quantum and noninear optics of a cold-atom ring laser with controlled dispersion

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: School of Physics and Astronomy


We are building a ring laser using a gas of cold atoms as a gain medium, tuning the group index through controlled quantum coherences. In the regime of slow light propagation, such a laser shows reduced sensitivity to environmental perturbations, making it attractive for active time/frequency standards. In the so-called superluminal regime, the lasing wavelength is hypersensitive to rotations via the Sagnac effect, making it promising for next generation gyro navigation systems. However the noise properties of such lasers are not well understood and only preliminary measurements have been made. We will help fill gaps in our understanding of lasing in fast and slow light media, and lay the foundation for future technologies based on their application.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509590/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1820172 Studentship EP/N509590/1 01/10/2016 31/03/2020 Graeme John Harvie
Description We have made the first ring laser using cold atoms. This has potential to influence the design of a cold atom ring laser gyroscope, as we have discovered and demonstrated some key issues that would have to be taken into account when building a cold atom ring laser gyroscope. In particular, an unexpected and as yet, unexplained but controllable non reciprocity between the clockwise and anti-clockwise directions of the ring cavity was demonstrated
We have also demonstrated that some easily measurable time constants (Cavity ring down time and second order coherence time) are very sensitive to gain/loss within a cavity, which could lead to applications in the high sensitivity detection of absorbing or amplifying materials
Exploitation Route Development of a cold atom ring laser gyroscrope- It is apparent from our results that Mollow gain is not a viable way of making a ring laser gyroscope with cold atoms. Another gain mechanism should be used.

Possible development of Cavity ring down spectrometer with gain enhancement or a second order coherence time based detector.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Chemicals,Transport