Novel Atom source for ultra-cold Sr.

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


As quantum technology is finding more and more uses in real world technological applications. These applications range through all terrains; earth bound, underwater, airborne and extra-terrestrial technologies are all being designed that would require optical atomic clocks to reach their full potential. In order to be useful in such applications clocks must be designed with small size, weight and power (SWAP). In order to achieve this the atom source must be efficient and well controlled. Results previously achieved by the Birmingham Strontium clock group has demonstrated an atom source which is small in size and is free from Black Body Radiation systematic shifts. This allows the construction of much smaller and more accurate optical lattice clocks. The "cold" method allows fast and controlled emission of strontium atomic vapour from a bulk material irradiated by a low power and low-cost diode laser. Initial results demonstrate that millions of strontium atoms from the vapour can be captured in a magneto-optical trap (MOT) both in a fully controlled manner and with several Hz repetition rate.

Going forward from these achievements it is important to understand:
1) A proper understanding of mechanism behind the results so far obtained.
2) The dependence on temperature, wave length and intensity of the emission laser on the atom source.
3) The effect of different material sources for the atoms, such as strontium oxide, strontium hydroxide, strontium carbonate, bulk strontium. It is also important to investigate how best to release atoms from such a source, so they can be used in the clock.
4) Possibly most importantly for long term portable project in space it is imperative to investigate how long the sample can be used before it runs out, and


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509590/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1965420 Studentship EP/N509590/1 01/10/2017 09/10/2021 Richard Barron