Abstract

In recent years, rapid progress has been made in the research areas of quantum sensing, which leads to more and more interest in field applications of high-precision sensors based upon cold atoms. Since magneto-optical trapping (MOT) serves as the mainstream technological platform to generate cold atoms, it is then natural to question its stability under harsh conditions of field operations, such as mechanical vibrations and acoustic noises, and this motivates our research work. In this article, we report our recent study of MOT quality when the cooling lasers are suffering instabilities from low-frequency acoustic vibrations, both theoretically and experimentally. We have implemented numerical simulations for a MOT capturing process under the presence of such instabilities, which reveals the kinematics of atoms for this scenario. Meanwhile, we have carried out experiments to test the outcome, especially by resorting to the time-of-light measurements, where acoustic vibrations are introduced to the cooling lights of MOT in a controlled manner. We demonstrate that a properly constructed MOT is robust against the low-frequency vibrations of cooling lights. Moreover, we also discuss potential applications of assessing MOT properties by the method of applying prescribed vibrations to cooling lights.

© 2019 Optical Society of America

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