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Atomic Physics Seminars
Monday, February 15, 2010
Physics Building, Room 204
Note special time.
[Host: Cass Sackett ]
US Army Research, Development and Engineering Command
"Novel Applications of Optical Pumping for Enhanced and Compact Sensors"
Optical pumping is a widely used technique in atomic physics for preparing
desired angular momentum states of an ensemble of atoms. This technique is
fundamental to the operation of many atom-based technologies, such as
clocks, magnetometers, atom interferometry-based and NMR-based inertial
sensors, and to the production of cold and ultracold atoms. We will discuss
recent research by our group into two novel applications of optical
pumping for sensor applications. The first involves the enhancement of
conventional optical gyroscopes through the introduction of an intracavity
resonant atomic medium. We have demonstrated, experimentally, that the steep
and negative dispersion associated with an atomic vapor resonance may be
used to enhance both the scale factor and the sensitivity of a Fabry-Perot
cavity. We have also shown that optical pumping by a second laser may be
used to continuously tune the response of the cavity. The second experiment
involves use of optical hyperfine pumping to produce absorption resonances at
frequencies of interest for laser cooling of atoms in sensors. In particular,
we demonstrate that the hyperfine level structure of the Rb87 atom provides
a naturally occuring pumping resonance which may be useful for locking the
cooling laser in the production of optical molasses within compact cold-atom
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