Asaf Szulc

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    Simulating atomic motion in a magneto-optical trap             [Full text pdf]


    Prof. Ron Folman


In this thesis I describe simulations of cold-atom sources, designed to be included in our experiments in the AtomChip lab. These experiments are conducted in vacuum conditions of 10^-11 to 10^-12 mbar. Such a high level of vacuum sets strict limitations for the process of loading atoms into the atomic traps necessary for successful realizations of the experiment. Developing a cold-atom source and successfully implementing it in our experiments will enable faster loading of the trap while avoiding a damaging increase of pressure in the vacuum chamber. This is essential for increasing our data collection rate that is severely hampered by our current restrictions to one experimental cycle per minute.
Following brief introductions to prepare the background for our models of simulating atomic motion in vacuum systems, I begin by applying a commonly used simulation for motion in a magneto-optical trap. I then develop a new method (called the "photon-recoil" model) for a stochastic treatment of the light-matter interaction, which produces a more accurate description for the velocity- and position-dependent forces acting on the atoms in the trap. I use my newly developed simulation for evaluating the force acting on an atom in an actual design of a cold-atom source that can fit the requirements of our experiments and compare it to results from simulations based on methods from the literature. I conclude this work by presenting a practical outline for a two-stage differential pumping scheme, which is essential for maintaining the low pressure requirements of the existing experiment, while still shortening the loading time.

  Last modified: 21/10/2018