Project Level:  Honours

Trapping potentials for atoms can be generated using a number of techniques, but typically are derived from external fields interacting with the atomic magnetic moment (magnetic traps), or the electric polarizability (optical traps). Another more recent technique that has been demonstrated uses RF oscillating fields which couple internal hyperfine states of the atom(dressed states).  Such dressed states have remarkable properties. The coupling is magnetic, and by varying and modulating the RF frequency, amplitude, and polarisation, RF dressed states can produce a variety of fascinating geometries to explore cold atom physics, including double wells, rings, and resonant “bubbles”.

This project will implement dressed potentials using on our 87 Rb Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) experiment. We have recently purchased a powerful 2-channel RF arbitrary waveform generator; this will be the workhorse of the system. With it, we will generate the necessary fields, and then load our ultra-cold gas of rubidium atoms into a variety of trapping geometries. In particular, the aim of the project will be to use RF dressed potentials to prepare the atoms into a large, smooth, ring geometry, and study the superfluid behaviour of the ultra-cold gas in the ring.

Expected outcomes: This project will implement the necessary RF infrastructure to investigate dressed potentials with the 87Rb experiment. This will include programming and control of the waveform generator, RF coil design, and impedance matching for optimum power output. Additionally, some theoretical modelling will be undertaken to model the potentials under various RF dressing conditions.

Project members

Dr Mark Baker

Research Fellow