Atom Cloud Trapped by Magnetic Laminate
inside a Magneto Optical Trap

Prentiss has trapped narrow clouds of cold atoms in a tube-like magnetic potential created by a laminate of permanent magnet layers spaced by 100 µm. The laminate is located inside a magneto optical trap. This approach greatly increases the efficiency of loading atoms into a small trap and opens new possibilities for controlling the motion of cold atoms above a chip. Magnetic field gradients can be achieved that are large enough to guide atoms in a single vibrational quantum state in a manner very similar to guiding light in a single mode fiber. This approach can be used to build an atom interferometer on a substrate to measure gravitation and other weak fields with unprecedented accuracy. These results are an outcome of a collaboration with Westervelt on atom control with micro-electromagnets.

Mara Prentiss
Robert Westervelt
Harvard MRSEC (DMR-0820484)