Research Publication Title

Using an Atomic Molecular Optics Laboratory for Undergraduate Research and Mentoring of Physics Students in Georgia

Major

Mathematics and Physics

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Hauke Busch

Keywords

Physics, optics, atomic physics, lasers, optical physics, magento optical trap

Abstract

Using an Atomic Molecular Optics Laboratory for Undergraduate Research and Mentoring of Physics Students in Georgia An Atomic and Molecular Optical (AMO) Physics research lab is an excellent tool to train and mentor undergraduate students in advanced laboratory techniques. Students gain valuable basic experience in experimental designs, data acquisition techniques, working with high precision optical equipment, building electronics, and working in the machine shop. The current project focuses in using a Photo Multiplier Tube (PMT) to calculate the number of atoms trapped in a Magneto Optical Trap (MOT), which involves aligning the PMT sensor with the MOT, and building a circuit for the high voltage power supply for the PMT. Previously completed projects included building a temperature controller, laser housing, a laser current supply circuit, machining laser mount, milling the vacuum chamber supports, and fabricating the Anti-Helmholtz coils for the chamber, which are necessary to trap the atoms in the MOT. Other projects included designing, building, baking out the vacuum chamber for a Rb MOT, and building the lasers for a saturation-absorption system that is used to probe the 52S1/2→ 52P3/2 hyperfine energy transitions of the Rb-85 atoms. These energy transitions have been used to frequency-lock a diode laser to trap Rb-85 atoms and then cool them to ultra-low temperatures. The atom cooling will permit observation and measurement of the fundamental properties of atoms. This lab has mentored and supported over twelve undergraduate students in the last eight years, of which one became a High School Teacher, one optometrist, four joined Ph.D. programs, one continued in a master’s level engineering program, and one went to graduate school to study bioengineering.

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Using an Atomic Molecular Optics Laboratory for Undergraduate Research and Mentoring of Physics Students in Georgia

Using an Atomic Molecular Optics Laboratory for Undergraduate Research and Mentoring of Physics Students in Georgia An Atomic and Molecular Optical (AMO) Physics research lab is an excellent tool to train and mentor undergraduate students in advanced laboratory techniques. Students gain valuable basic experience in experimental designs, data acquisition techniques, working with high precision optical equipment, building electronics, and working in the machine shop. The current project focuses in using a Photo Multiplier Tube (PMT) to calculate the number of atoms trapped in a Magneto Optical Trap (MOT), which involves aligning the PMT sensor with the MOT, and building a circuit for the high voltage power supply for the PMT. Previously completed projects included building a temperature controller, laser housing, a laser current supply circuit, machining laser mount, milling the vacuum chamber supports, and fabricating the Anti-Helmholtz coils for the chamber, which are necessary to trap the atoms in the MOT. Other projects included designing, building, baking out the vacuum chamber for a Rb MOT, and building the lasers for a saturation-absorption system that is used to probe the 52S1/2→ 52P3/2 hyperfine energy transitions of the Rb-85 atoms. These energy transitions have been used to frequency-lock a diode laser to trap Rb-85 atoms and then cool them to ultra-low temperatures. The atom cooling will permit observation and measurement of the fundamental properties of atoms. This lab has mentored and supported over twelve undergraduate students in the last eight years, of which one became a High School Teacher, one optometrist, four joined Ph.D. programs, one continued in a master’s level engineering program, and one went to graduate school to study bioengineering.