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Andor iXon 897 EMCCD Camera images 4 Bose-Einstein Condensates simultaneously
iXon EMCCD camera's exceptional low light performance opens the door to real-time implementation of atomtronics
Since the first demonstrations of Bose-Einstein condensation in 1995, ultra-cold matter has become a fertile and lively field of study. Research around the world is establishing a high level of understanding of the underlying physics for applications, such as inertial guidance systems, atomic clocks and quantum computing. Teams are also beginning to design and build compact, low-power instrumentation for handling ultra-cold atoms.
A team from the University of Colorado's physics department, led by Prof Dana Anderson, has now demonstrated a high-resolution projection and imaging system for ultra-cold atoms built from commercially available components. The silicon and glass atom chip at the heart of the system is metallised to enable magnetic trapping while the glass regions enable holographically-generated light patterns to optically slice the magnetic trap into separate regions. Up to four Bose-condensates have been generated simultaneously and fluorescent images captured on an Andor iXon EMCCD camera.
"Our research is aimed at developing "atomtronic" devices, atomic analogues to semiconductor-based electronics, such as transistors and diodes, which can be used to fabricate atomic circuits with real commercial applications," says Dr Evan Salim. "All of them will rely on quantum mechanical tunnelling of atoms through potential barriers and we must be able to detect and manipulate the atoms at micron or sub-micron scales. Our system greatly simplifies the process and enables a more flexible and robust device.
"We chose the Andor iXon for several reasons: the experiments relied on fluorescence imaging of small samples of atoms, typically 10-20 thousand atoms, and we needed a camera with exceptional low light performance. As well as meeting that performance requirement, the iXon EMCCD camera was already being used by colleagues doing similar work. Finally, we had previous experience of Andor's cameras in the past and valued their combination of performance and reliability. It was a good choice, as we used it for low-light, bright-light, and rapid imaging applications.
According to Colin Duncan, imaging application specialist at Andor, "Atomtronics have important theoretical advantages over conventional electronics, including superfluidity and superconductivity, minimal thermal noise and instability, and coherent flow. With such characteristics, atomtronics could play a key role in quantum computing, nanoscale amplifiers, and precision sensors. The work of Evan Salim and his colleagues at Colorado's JILA Institute, University of Colorado is very significant and opens the door to the real-time implementation of atomtronics in the near future."