2009 Advanced Laboratories Conference Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Magneto-Optical Trap
Abstract: In this experiment on the magneto-optical trapping (MOT) of Rubidium atoms, students learn the principles of MOT operation. In the first phase of this lab, students develop the following skills: (1) Locking of the trap laser to a suitable frequency within the Rb saturation spectrum, (2) Alignment of the six trap laser beams through the MOT chamber, and (3) development of strategies to determine correct combinations of magnetic-field polarity and laser polarizations.  In the second phase, students observe and record the MOT loading curve, that is, the MOT population as a function of time elapse after turning on the trap.  From the loading curves, three important parameters associated with the MOT are determined: (1) the loading rate associated with the MOT growth, (2) the characteristic time constant of the MOT, and (3) the total number of atoms trapped. The characteristic time constant equals the average dwell time of a trapped atom in the MOT before it is lost due to collisions.
Abstract Type: Workshop
Session: Session V - Parallel Workshops

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Georg Raithel
University of Michigan