AtMol News

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March 2010

  • On March 6th 2010 the Mixture group observed the first Bose-Einstein condensation of 87Rb in their setup. The experimental sequence takes ~4x108 87Rb atoms from a pyramid MOT source, optically pumping them into F=1, mF=-1 state and transferring them into a magnetic quadrupole trap. A dipole beam is then switched on providing a trap ~50 micro Kelvin deep. RF evaporation is performed in the quadrupole trap and the dipole trap is then loaded by ramping down the magnetic potential. Evaporatively cooling to BEC then takes place. On first observation our condensate atom number is ~2x105.

March 2009

  • Our work on the slow-light Faraday effect has been published in Nature Photonics, DOI:10.1038/nphoton.2009.27. We show the large bandwidth of off-resonance slow-light media can be combined with the Faraday effect to realise a high-bandwidth dispersive probe for atomic systems. This opens up the possibility of probing atomic dynamics on a nanosecond timescale.

October 2008

  • A broadband optical pulse of carrier wavelength 795.0 nm has been rotated by 90° in a hot Rb vapour cell. The linearly polarised pulse, initial in the x direction (red), was observed to rotate towards the y direction with an applied magnetic of 80 G (green) and 230 G (blue). The black curve is a far detuned non-interacting pulse.

September 2008

  • Giant DC Kerr effect observed in Rydberg gas. We have shown that a Rydberg ensemble has a giant Kerr non-linearity due to the extreme polarizability of Rydberg states. This opens up the prospect for precision electrometry and applications in quantum information such as photon entanglement. The results have appeared in Nature Physics (click on the image)

August 2008

January 2008

August 2006

  • Congratulations to Graham Purves on recently completing his PhD! We all wish him the best of luck in his future career.

  • A belated welcome to Dr. Ajay Tripathi who recently joined the group. More details about Ajay's work may be found on the Members page.

  • The group was well represented in the Physics Department Cricket Match for the staff and student teams. The staff claimed victory by 12 runs.

June 2006

  • A belated welcome to Dr. Igor Mourachko who joined the group in Febryary 2006. More details about Igor's work may be found on the Members page.

  • Observation of Inelastic losses in a two species magneto-optical trap (MOT). The figure (below) shows the first two species florescence measurements of the Durham 87Rb-133Cs mixture. The blue (red) line is the measured florescence of the Cs (Rb) pyramid MOT, with no Rb (Cs)MOT repumping light present. The black line is the loading of the Cs MOT with no Rb repumping light present initially, but with the Rb repumping light unblocked after approximately 20 seconds. The number of atoms in the Cs MOT drops by approximately 20% in the presence of the Rb MOT. This is due to inelastic interspecies collisions in the pyramid MOT. We do not see a comparable drop in the number of trapped Rb atoms in the presence of Cs.

January 2006

  • Congratulations to Paul Griffin on obtaining his PhD in " Laser Cooling and Loading of Rb into A Large Period, Quasi-Electrostatic, Optical Lattice". Paul is now a member of the Atomic and Molecular group at Georgia Tech. We wish him all the best in his future career.

  • Congratulations to Dave Smith on obtaining his PhD in Laser Cooling and Magnetic Atom Optics. Dave is currently teaching English in Japan. We wish him the best of luck in his future career.

  • Dr Ifan Hughes has been awarded an EPSRC grant for "EUCAN - the UK contribution to a European cold atom network" (EPSRC Grant Reference: EP/D054877/1).

  • Dr Simon Cornish has been awarded an EPSRC grant for "Magnetic transport and mixing of two distinct cold atomic gases: A new route to the study of ultracold mixtures" (EPSRC Grant Reference: EP/D033314/1).

  • Prof. Charles Adams has been awarded an EPSRC grant for "Multiparticle entanglement of neutral atoms by Rydberg excitation in an optical lattice" (EPSRC Grant Reference: EP/D037174/1).

December 2005

  • Special congratulations to Nick Parker on winning the annual thesis prize for the IoP Computational Physics Group, for 2004. The prize includes a £500 cash prize (i.e. 'beer money'), which we're sure Nick will put to good use on future nights out! This is the second time in six years that a student from this group has won the prize.

October 2005

  • We have directly measured the change in dispersion associated with EIT in a Sagnac interferometer. More details can be found here.

  • A very warm welcome to our new Ph.D. students; Antoine Gusdorf (supervised by Prof. David Flower), Mark Bason (supervised by Prof. Charles Adams), and Mark Saunders (supervised by Dr. Simon Gardiner). More details of their work and interests can be found on their upcoming respective people pages.

  • Nick Parker has recently joined the Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics group at the University of Melbourne, as a post-doctoral researcher . All of the group wishes him the best of luck in his new position!

September 2005

  • Cold Cs Atoms at Durham University! A new species of cold atoms for Durham. Today Cold Cs atoms were trapped in pyramid MOT for the first time. The MOT is the cloud of atoms just to the right of the hole in the centre of the image. The other five clouds are reflections of the MOT image in the pyramid optics. This work has been conducted by Simon Cornish, Patrick Tierney (pictured below, left), and Margaret Harris (pictured below, right).

August 2005

  • Dr Simon Gardiner has been awarded an EPSRC First Grant "Sensitivity to Gravity of Driven Cold-Atom Dynamics" (EPSRC Grant Reference: EP/D032970/1).

  • Dr Ifan Hughes has recently been awarded an EPSRC grant to conduct investigation into Coherent Control of the formation of ultracold molecules (EPSRC Grant Reference: EP/D502594/1). This research will be carried out in collaboration with the University of Oxford and University of Newcastle, as well as the newly formed IQ3 in Durham.

  • Nick Parker was jointly awarded the Department of Physics Thesis Prize 2004-2005, for his thesis entitled "Numerical Studies of Vortices and Dark Solitons in Atomic Bose-Einstein Condensates". Nick's prize consisted of a £200 cash prize, which will be quite rightly consumed in a future group night out.

  • The ATMOL group's official football team, the mighty Dynamo Physics F.C. finished outside the bottom two in the league, for the first time in four (maybe more!) years. Congratulations to manager Paul Griffin and the star signings that ensured this success.

April 2005

  • The IQ3 mini-site is launched, see it here.
  • Simon Gardiner has joined the research group as a lecturer. He will be continuing his research into quantum-nonlinear dynamics and BEC theory.

January 2005

  • Enhanced loading of a CO2 lattice is demonstrated using light shift engineering, see here for more details and a preprint.

December 2004

  • A fourth working MOT is briefly added to the group's labs, before being dismantled and combined with the 3D optical lattice chamber - see the photos here.
  • Ifan's Christmas lectures on "Cool things to do with lasers" proves to be a great success amongst local 6th form students.
  • Drinky Bird was returned unharmed to her owner - everybody is quite relieved.

November 2004

  • Matt wins the Postgraduate lecture competition and a poster prize at the Young Physicist Conference held in Glasgow.
  • Drinky Bird was kidnapped in an audacious daylight raid on the Physics department. Anyone who has information on his where abouts please get in contact ASAP.
  • A 3rd working Magneto Optical Trap has been added to the labs.

October 2004

  • Welcome to the new PhD students: Andrew, Steven, Meltem, and Patrick
  • Congratulations to Nick on gaining his PhD.

September 2004

  • Congratulations to Ciprian on gaining his PhD.
  • Rubidium atoms are trapped in a CO2 Dipole trap. For more details see here.