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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R002371/1
Title: QuDOS II: Quantum technologies using Diffractive Optical Structures (Phase II)
Principal Investigator: Griffin, Dr PF
Other Investigators:
Arnold, Dr AS Pritchard, Dr JD
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Physics
Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Scheme: Technology Programme
Starts: 01 March 2017 Ends: 28 February 2018 Value (£): 152,275
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The project will develop a compact and simplified apparatus for the preparation of cold atomic samples for a range of sensing, timing and computing applications. Conventionally, multiple laser beams are required to laser cool and trap atoms and, with this, comes a corresponding overhead of optical components within a mechanical framework. An outcome is an increased risk of misalignment in the system due to environmental effects, such as vibrations.

Laser cooling is not sufficient for the creation of a Bose-Einstein condensate, as it cannot reach temperatures below the microKelvin scale. Therefore, additional mechanisms, such as evaporative cooling are required. This necessitates the use of additional trapping potentials, which are formed through magnetic traps or far-off-resonant optical-dipole traps.

Here, we propose an innovative approach of using only a single laser for both laser cooling and subsequent optical dipole trapping of atoms. We will initially use the Strathclyde-developed and previously qualified approach of a grating-MOT for creation of ultracold atoms, in which all the beams required for cooling and trapping are generated by a single beam reflected from a grating chip. A short (~1s) pre-cooling phase in a magnetic trap will be followed by a hybrid magnetic-optical trapping system, from which point there is a well-documented path for evaporative cooling. The rapid tuning of the MSquared Lasers-developed titanium-sapphire laser will enable the system to rapidly adapt to the needs of an dipole trap, with high power (>1W) and large detuning (~100nm) from atomic resonance. This approach will simplify the laser systems required for creation of a Bose-Einstein condensate, at the same time adding increased robustness and eliminating user input. In the project the partners will develop the required systems to rapidly re-lock the laser to the laser cooling transition after scanning the wavelength for the next cycle.

The techniques have wide relevance to quantum technologies as the form a core stage for atomic sensing devices including gravimeters, and inertial sensors. The project brings the academic excellence of the University of Strathclyde together with the industrial know-how of M Squared Lasers to exploit this world-leading innovation from the UK's research base. We will take it closer to commercialisation by commissioning a chip trap within an industrial environment, enhancing the technique and demonstrating measurement capability.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.strath.ac.uk