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Next generation atom chips. Planar microwave traps for experiments with cold atoms and ions/electrons

Final Report Summary - NGAMIT (Next generation atom chips. Planar microwave traps for experiments with cold atoms and ions/electrons.)

The initial scope of the project has been the implementation of next generation atom and ion chips. Atom chips consist of planar microstructures (several µm down to 100 nm), which generate the magnetic/electric fields for confining and cooling of neutral atoms. In the project we have developed new structures allowing for trapping charged particles, like electrons or laser cooled ions in a chip. Our chips will use surface microwave transmission-lines, like micro-strips, slot-lines and coplanar waveguides. The idea is to develop a new technology, which will enable the coherent coupling of different atomic species, like neutral atoms and electrons/ions, trapped in the same chip or in separate chips. The coherent coupling will occur through the interaction with microwave photons. These will transmit the quantum information between the different species present in the foreseen quantum microwave network. Besides the applications in quantum information technologies, the project’s long term goals are to develop a new tool, conceived for studying several topics in atomic physics, such as collisions of ultracold atoms with ions/electrons, sympathetic cooling of charged particles by cold atoms. The new chip might also be used to in mass spectrometry and matter-wave-interferometry for charged particles, with the goal of entanglement of electrons/ions.

Initially conceived for trapping neutral atoms and charged particles simultaneously, during the project we have focused on the development of a novel Penning trap technology: useful for capturing charged particles. The result is the novel coplanar-waveguide Penning trap. This new planar Penning trap technology will allow for the detection of a single trapped ion/electron, a primary goal of on-chip Penning trap technology, not achieved experimentally yet. The new chip trap has been patented and the experimental set-up has been built. A prototype of the new coplanar-waveguide Penning trap has been designed and is currently under construction. We have published 2 articles in peer-reviewed journals, 2 invited book chapters and 2 patents, in total 6 publications related to the coplanar-waveguide Penning trap. Our trap is the first Penning trap incorporating the magnetic field source in a scalable chip. This will open the possibility of making accessible advanced Penning trap technology to many academic laboratories and small companies, thereby eliminating the big cost associated with the purchase of a superconducting solenoid. This could have an important impact in research and in the applications of Penning traps, particularly in mass spectrometry.