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Title: Trapping ultracold argon atoms
Author: Edmunds, P. D.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5365 9159
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis describes the dipole trapping of both metastable and ground state argon atoms. Metastable argon atoms are first Doppler-cooled down to ∼80 μK in a magneto- optical trap (MOT) on the 4s[3/2]2 to 4p[5/2]3 transitions. These were loaded into dipole traps formed both within the focus of a high-power CO2 laser beam and within an optical build-up cavity. The optical cavity’s well depth could be rapidly modulated: allowing efficient loading of the trap, characterisation of trapped atom temperature, and reduction of intensity noise. Collisional properties of the trapped metastable atoms were studied within the cavity and the Penning and associative losses from the trap calculated. Ground state noble gas atoms were also trapped for the first time. This was achieved by optically quenching metastable atoms to the ground state and then trapping the atoms in the cavity field. Although the ground state atoms could not be directly probed, we detected them by observing the additional collisional loss from co-trapped metastable argon atoms. This trap loss was used to determine an ultra-cold elastic cross section between the ground and metastable states. Using a type of parametric loss spectroscopy we also determined the polarisability of metastable argon at the trapping wavelength of 1064 nm.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available