Magneto-Optical Traps: From Quantum Computing to Redefining Time

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[…] Magneto-Optical Traps (MOTs) use laser light in combination with strong magnetic coils to trap atoms. Researchers project a laser beam at the sample of atoms to significantly slow them down.  In order for the photons that make up the laser beam to affect the atom sample, the photons must propagate at the resonant frequency of the atoms. This resonant frequency, however, is not always easy to find. MOT setups often use EOM to generate sideband frequencies. This creates a broader spectrum of pulsed laser light. Using a Fabry-Perot interferometer, researchers are then able to tune the laser using the created spectrum to identify the resonant frequency. This technique is known as phase locking. EOMs significantly increase the efficiency of phase locking systems and stabilizing laser frequency.  […]