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Laser Cooling of Tm Atoms

Dr Alexey Akimov

Director, Russian Quantum Centre, Skolkovo, Moscow

3:30 pm Friday, 6 December 2013
EN102 Lecture Theatre (EN Building), Hawthorn.


Laser cooled species are finding more and more applications in moderns physics. They have been the basis of various precision measurements ranging from metrological standards to the search for drift of fundamental constants.  Cold atoms are also now becoming a powerful platform for the quantum simulation of complicated interactions or new materials. While originally most of laser cooling and BEC activity was concentrated on alkali atoms, rare earth elements are attracting more and more attention these days. Their large magnetic moment and narrow optical transitions attract both precision measurement and simulation communities. Such elements as Yb, Dy, Er have already been cooled to BEC temperatures. Thulium also belongs to the group of rare-earth atoms and has a partly-filled electronic f-shell. The single stable isotope thulium-169 possesses a magnetic moment of 4 Bohr magnetons in the ground state, which exceeds the magnetic moment of alkali atoms by a factor of 10. This feature opens the opportunity to study long-range dipole-dipole and quadruple interactions between atoms as well as magnetic properties like spontaneous magnetization in the quantum regime. After loading ultracold thulium atoms into an optical lattice, one can obtain a unique two- or three-dimensional many-body quantum system with strong magnetic interactions. Therefore thulium atoms could provide a powerful platform for quantum simulation. In this talk I will describe our achievement and laser cooling of thulium atoms.