What is it about?
Atomic fountains are a core technology used in atomic clocks and atom interferometry. We have developed a method for making an atomic fountain on a chip, with a geometry that requires applying laser light from one direction. This is a simplification on current methods that require six lasers. We test the performance by using the fountain for an atomic clock
Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash
Why is it important?
The resolution of many quantum sensors depends on the total time available for the measurement. The measurement time of laser-cooled atoms is limited by gravity – these atoms fall at 9.8 m/s/s, just like Newton's apple, which means that we are usually limited to about 10 ms for our measurements. The work in this paper demonstrates how this time can be extended out to 100ms with relatively small changes in the experimental system. The changes are mainly in the duplication of component, and there isn't any new know-how required. The paper also examines how these longer measurement times come with some costs, which themselves could limit the ultimate measurement resolution. We examine the effect of this experimentally and show that even allowing for negative effects, such as the loss of atoms, that the measurement resolution can still be significantly improved.
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This page is a summary of: A grating-chip atomic fountain, Applied Physics Letters, October 2022, American Institute of Physics, DOI: 10.1063/5.0115382.
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