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Title: An apparatus for the production of Bose-Einstein condensates in tunable geometries on a chip
Author: Barrett, Thomas J.
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2017
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Abstract:
Atom chips are an excellent tool for studying ultracold degenerate quantum gases, due to the high degree of controllability afforded by the precise potentials generated from the current-carrying microfabricated wires on the chip surface. The geometries of the trapping potentials are inherently capable of realising extreme aspect ratios, and therefore creating model systems with effectively reduced dimensionality, particularly the theoretically-tractable one-dimensional Bose gas. In addition, the temporal tunability makes it possible to impart non-adiabatic changes on the trapping potentials, allowing experimental investigation of samples which have been brought out of equilibrium - a situation which is not fully theoretically understood. This thesis describes the implementation, development and characterisation of an experimental system for producing the first Bose-Einstein condensates of atomic rubidium 87 gas trapped on the surface of an atom chip in Nottingham. Such an apparatus is very complex and requires careful characterisation in order to run in a stable and reliable way. Details of the experimental setup are thoroughly outlined, including the vacuum system, lasers, electronics, computer control and timing, and the optical imaging system. A newly installed compact two-dimensional magneto-optical trap provides an loading rate of 5e7 atoms per second for loading a three-dimensional mirror-magneto-optical trap with 1.5e8 atoms, at a temperature of 300uK within 10s. The cloud is then sub-Doppler cooled to 50uK, and spin-polarised with 96% purity into the |F=2,mF=+2 > ground state within 5ms, in preparation for loading a purely magnetic trap. A millimeter sized copper Z-shaped conductor located beneath the atom chip surface creates a Ioffe-Pritchard magnetic trap, into which the laser cooled cloud is loaded with 70% efficiency, and can be held with a vacuum-limited lifetime of 40s. Evaporative cooling then pre-cools the sample to below 20uK within 10s, to allow the subsequent loading into potentials created by the atom chip with 100% efficiency. A final evaporation stage then cools the cloud below the phase transition temperature of 800nK, resulting finally in pure BECs with $10^5$ atoms confined using the atom chip. Key measurements of various properties of the trapped condensates are presented, which are important in order to characterise the system fully, and to compare with theoretical expectations. In particular, included are the variation of condensate fraction with temperature, the BEC expansion dynamics, and the condensate lifetime in the trap, for example. Finally, it is demonstrated how BECs can be produced on the atom chip without the use of external macroscopic coils, achieved by using novel, integrated sheet structures located beneath the chip surface - unique to this experimental system - to create the necessary bias fields.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.719489  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QC170 Atomic physics. Constitution and properties of matter
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