Magnetic transport and mixing of two distinct atomic gases
A. Tripathi, I.G. Hughes & S.L. Cornish
Funding: EPSRC Grant EP/D033314/1.
The study of mixtures of different atomic species is perhaps the most promising and exciting avenue of current research in the field of quantum degenerate gases. The goal of this project is to develop a method that permits the magnetic transport and mixing of two (or more) distinct atomic gases. Such a technique represents a new and greatly simplified route to the study of ultracold mixtures, and will facilitate a new generation of experiments capable of exploring a diverse range of physics, including:
  • The formation of heteronuclear molecules using Feshbach resonances.
  • The creation of dipolar superfluids in optical lattices via a two-species Mott-insulator phase.
  • The sympathetic cooling of new species (both atoms and molecules) to quantum degeneracy.
  • The application of neutral atoms and molecules to quantum information processing
  • The technique we propoed to develop is illustrated in the schematic apparatus shown on the right. Two cold atomic clouds are collected using high pressure magneto-optical traps (MOTs) and are then transferred into a ultra-high vacuum environment using an existing and proven magnetic transport technique. The innovation of this proposal lies in the "mixing region", where we demonstrate a method to combine the two clouds into a single trap. Finally the trapped mixture is transported into the "science cell", where the optical access for further experiments is excellent. Importantly this approach also removes the loss associated with strong inter-species light-assisted collisions that can occur in two species MOTs.
    In early 2007, however, we demonstrated a simple yet effective displaced MOT technique which dramatically improves the operation of two species MOTs (for details see the mixture project web-page and associated links). Since then we have been developing a simpler single stage apparatus which in the longer term will develop into a second generation apparatus for the mixture project and will be employed to study quantum degenerate atomic gases in the absolute internal ground states in an optical trap.

    Content © Simon L. Cornish, Durham University 2007