UBC Undergraduate Research

A Study of Excited State Atoms in Cold Atom Traps and a test of the Reif Model to Determine Trap Depth. Evetts, Nathan


The motivation, theory and applications of atomic traps are briefly reviewed before delving into the primary motivation for the research: the disagreement between theory and experiment for the calculation of trap loss rate constants (< σv >) for Rubidium Magneto-Optical Traps. We use a pure magnetic trap to calibrate for the density of background Rubidium in our system while varying this density and measuring the loss and loading rates for multiple magnetic traps for which the trap depth has been measured previously. This variation of density allows us to infer < σv >, a quantity whose behaviour we attempt to explain in relation to the the excited state fraction of the trapped atoms. We find a strong correlation between the excited state fraction and the loss rate constant which we are, unfortunately, unable to quantify due to data quality issues. In addition to this study, experimental evidence for the confirmation of the Reif Model is provided as well as a new method (based on this model) for measuring the depth of a magneto-optical trap.

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