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Atomic Physics Seminars

ics Atomic
Monday, February 15, 2010
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Krishna Myneni [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 based sensors.

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