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Mobile Optical Clock with Neutral Atoms in a Blue Magical Optical Lattice

Final Report Summary - MOBILE OPTICAL CLOCK (Mobile Optical Clock with Neutral Atoms in a Blue Magical Optical Lattice)

In today’s world, clocks play a very fundamental role in science and technology ranging from the Global Positioning System (GPS), international time standards to the test of the fundamental laws of physics at an unprecedented level of precision. In particular, millions of ultra cold neutral atoms confined in periodic light potentials can be used for precision metrology and quantum measurements. By carefully choosing the wavelength and polarization of the lattice laser, one can arrive at a situation where the two probed electronic states of an atom experience the same light shifts. In such a magical lattice, perturbations on the two electronic states due to light field cancel out and the spectroscopy becomes independent of the motion of the centre-of-mass of the atom.
The main aim of this project is to create a novel mobile optical clock using Sr atoms in a “magic” blue detuned 3D optical lattice. The ultra narrow, 698 nm transition from 5s2 1S0 to 5s5p 3P0 s2 1S0 to 5s5p 3P0 is used as a clock transition. In the first stage the project aims at a device to demonstrate relativistic geodesy and explore first applications. Furthermore this project delivers enabling technology for various cold atom applications, such as force sensors for oil and mineral exploration or quantum simulation as a first step to full scale quantum information. These applications are now becoming mature with many fascinating laboratory demonstrations but suffer from a critical lack of readiness in terms of robust device-ready technology. This project benefits from an intra-European transfer of such technology from the German QUANTUS BEC in microgravity project to the UK and at the same time widen the application of the technology developed. It also links to ESA-programmes related to quantum sensors and space applications.
As this is an individual fellowship, providing an appropriate research training to the researcher so that he reaches professional maturity on a way to becoming an independent scientist, is an essential goal of it. This project has provided a unique and close to ideal environment for Dr. Singh to enrich his training to acquire new professional skills, in the form of research techniques, scientific oral and written communications, supervision and project management, specifically:
1. To offer him the opportunity to acquire intellectual knowledge and expertise in precision metrology, quantum measurements, relativity and related areas. In particular, he has had the opportunity to set up a robust, portable, ultra precise and ultra accurate lattice clock.
2. To enable him to learn new techniques such as stabilizing a clock laser with a Febry-Perot cavity or frequency comb.
3. To train and enrich him as an expert in the state-of-the art technology that can pave the way for the space endeavors on atomic sensors and other applications.
4. To offer him further interdisciplinary research abilities through the use of core facilities and close collaboration with a number of internationally leading scientists.
5. To provide him with further transferable skills such as communication skills (written and oral) and working as part of a team.
6. To provide him with leadership qualities by participating in the supervision of and advice to undergraduate project students and graduate students.