Manipulation and control of ultra-cold rubidium atoms

Kowalczyk, Anna Urszula (2013). Manipulation and control of ultra-cold rubidium atoms. PhD thesis The Open University.



During the course of this PhD an experimental set-up has been designed and implemented to confine neutral atoms in microscopic dipole traps and to manipulate their internal states by laser excitation to Rydberg states. A lot of effort was devoted to the stabilization of the laser sources for two-photon excitation to the Rydberg states, using techniques based on modulation transfer spectroscopy and electromagnetically induced transparency (EIT). Taking advantage of the EIT spectroscopy scheme, we have measured for the first time the electric dipole moments for the transitions between the first excited 5P3/2 and Rydberg nDS/2 level of rubidium. These measurements provided benchmarking of existing theoretical models to calculate the reduced matrix elements and have helped us to identify the D'yachkov Pankratov method as a particularly reliable one. Therefore we made use of the existing code to calculate the relative radial matrix elements for bound-bound, bound-free and free-free transitions between arbitrary states of alkali atoms. Our results allowed us to identify many features of interest and several Cooper minima have been revealed for the first time. The preparation of a new apparatus required ultra-high vacuum for efficient laser cooling and trapping experiments. A unique 4-beam magneto-optical trap has been designed and implemented in our new system. The tetrahedral MOT operating at a very acute beams angle has been demonstrated for the first time. The characterisation of the basic properties of our MOT has highlighted. some interesting new cooling mechanisms that do not fully match existing theoretical models and will require further investigation. It has been demonstrated that our tetrahedral MOT is suitable to prepare cold, diluted reservoirs of atoms and therefore efficiently load our microscopic dipole trap.

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