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Laser cooling and optical trapping of Ytterbium

KEMP, STEFAN,LIAM (2017) Laser cooling and optical trapping of Ytterbium. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF (PhD thesis: Laser cooling and optical trapping of Ytterbium) - Accepted Version


This thesis presents the development of an experimental apparatus designed to investigate the ultracold collisional properties for mixtures of Cs and Yb, with a long-term view to the creation of ultracold CsYb molecules via indirect cooling methods. The unpaired electron spin that is inherent to molecules of this form gives rise to a magnetic dipole moment in addition to a ground state electric dipole moment. This enables extra control over molecular interactions and should enable the experimental simulation of spin lattice models.

We focus on the implementation of a system designed to controllably laser cool and optically trap Yb. The first step in this system is the production of a magneto-optical trap (MOT) on the triplet 1S0 to 3P1 transition of Yb. With careful control over the cooling beam detunings and power, gravitational-assisted Doppler cooling allows samples of Yb to be prepared at 22 uK. This regime of enhanced Doppler cooling is investigated and proves to be a crucial step to ensuring good transfer of cold Yb to optical traps.

The construction and characterisation of single and crossed beam optical dipole traps for Yb are discussed. The single beam optical trap has been used to verify a model for the optical trapping of Yb in its ground state. This trap has also been utilised as a tool for the measurement of the light shift on the 1S0 to 3P1 transition at a wavelength of 1070~nm. In the main experimental sequence, Yb atoms are loaded from the magneto-optical trap into the crossed optical dipole trap, allowing evaporative cooling ramps to quantum degeneracy to be performed. This highly-reproducible system typically forms Bose-Einstein condensates with 2 x 10^5 174Yb atoms.

This thesis additionally reports on the progress made towards measurements of the interspecies scattering length for 133Cs and Yb isotopes. We present two approaches that are being developed in tandem: rethermalisation in a conservative trap, and two-photon photoassociation. Progress towards rethermalisation measurements has focussed on developing systems for the efficient transfer of Cs to an optical trap. For photoassociative measurements, a laser system has been developed and tested by producing one-photon photoassociation spectra of Cs2.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:CsYb, Ultracold molecules, optical trapping, laser cooling, Ytterbium, Caesium, Bose-Einstein condensation
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Science > Physics, Department of
Thesis Date:2017
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:31 May 2017 12:15

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