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Title: Ultra-cold atomic magnetometry : realisation and test of a 87Rb BEC for high-sensitivity magnetic field measurements
Author: Venturelli, Michela
ISNI:       0000 0004 7429 2771
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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The development of an experimental apparatus to produce Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) of 87Rb atoms and their application to magnetometry are discussed. Optical detection of atomic Larmor precession is a widely explored method for high-sensitivity measurements of magnetic fields. In this context, short laser/atom interaction time, atomic thermal diffusion and decoherence effects are among the main limitations. In this thesis, we overcome such problems by using spin-polarised 87Rb ultra-cold atoms as the sensing element. After the atoms are polarised, a resonant pulse of radio-frequency excites Larmor precession, which is sensitive to external magnetic fields. By measuring the perturbations of the radio-frequency induced spin precession, information on the magnetic fields of interest. This is achieved by monitoring the polarisation plane’s rotation of a linearly polarised resonant laser probe. In the first part of this thesis, the building and optimisation of a laser-cooling set up to obtain a BEC in a hybrid trap is reported. In order to achieve the Phase Space Density (PSD) required for BEC, several different stages of trapping and cooling are necessary. Each phase has been implemented and optimised. The first step consists in the magneto-optical trap (MOT). Here a velocity dependent damping force and a spatially dependent confining force give the largest changes in PSD. Then atoms are loaded into a hybrid trap obtained by overlapping a quadrupole magnetic potential and a far detuned optical crossed dipole trap. The final stage for the condensation consists of forced evaporative cooling, both via magnetic and optical evaporation. In the second part of the thesis, a general overview of the principles of optical atomic magnetometry is provided and the advantages of using ultra-cold atoms with respect to conventional thermal vapours are discussed. The implementation, operation and a preliminary characterisation of the ultra-cold atom magnetometer are described along with the preliminary results collected. Finally, a plan for future improvements of its sensitivity is presented.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available