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Title: Trapping, transport and polarisation of ultracold lithium
Author: Kaushik, Aisha
ISNI:       0000 0004 5349 5748
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2015
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The aim of our experiment is to explore two methods of creating an ultracold dipolar gas which can subsequently be used to simulate quantum phenomena. The first method is to sympathetically cool polar molecules. In this case, the molecules are overlapped with ultracold lithium atoms, thus allowing the two clouds to thermalise through elastic collisions. The second method is to electrically polarise ultracold lithium atoms using an electric field of approximately 1MV/cm. This involves placing the atoms between two high voltage electrodes. This thesis describes and characterises the setup used to produce, trap and transport a cloud of lithium-7 atoms. The setup consists of a lithium oven, Zeeman slower, magneto-optical trap (MOT) and magnetic trap. Up to 2.3x10^8 atoms are loaded into the MOT with an initial temperature of 1.3 mK. By implementing a compressed MOT phase the temperature is reduced to 0.75 mK. Before transport, 23% of the MOT atoms are transferred into the magnetic trap, which has a lifetime of 1.53±0.01 s in the MOT chamber. Using a motorised translation stage to move the magnetic trapping coils, atomic transport over a distance of 44 cm from the MOT chamber to the science chamber has been demonstrated. The transport efficiency is 41%. In the science chamber the lifetime of the magnetic trap has been measured as 18.5±0.7 s. Experiments to optimise the absorption imaging system have also been carried out, highlighting the fact that a time and position dependent magnetic field is present after the trapping coils switch off. The feasibility of producing a 1MV/cm electric field has been investigated. By using indium tin oxide coated glass electrodes in an adjustable electrode mount, an electric field of approximately 0.2MV/cm has been generated. These electrodes were subsequently replaced with super-polished stainless steel electrodes which generated a field of 0.38MV/cm.
Supervisor: Tarbutt, Mike; Hinds, Edward Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral