Saudi student Somaya Madkhali from the University of Nottingham, UK, and her colleagues have built compact equipment for quantum technologies. According to the research paper published by physics.aps.org, the team led by a Saudi doctoral student took the quantum mechanics world to cool atoms a qualitative leap, after the devices costing millions, became costing several thousand, and developed a complete device for stabilizing and cooling the atom, including printing 3D vacuum chamber.
Small and light devices
Ideally, these devices would be small, lightweight and powerful, so they could be used anywhere, anytime – unlike current lab-based systems, which are not portable. The team recently demonstrated a 3D-printed vacuum chamber, which is 70 percent lighter than a standard vacuum chamber, something they say could help reduce the size and weight of systems that use such chambers. Now they’ve used 3D-printed parts to demonstrate a built-in magneto-optical trap – the starting point for many quantum technologies, as well as cold atom experiments.
Physically, the team’s design includes printed parts that weigh 3.2 kg and occupy an area of 0.15 m3, a fraction of ∼3 m3 is normally required for such a system. To demonstrate its preparation, the team used it to confine and cool a cloud of rubidium atoms, which are commonly used in cold atom experiments. They show they can produce a cloud of 2×108 of these atoms, about the same number found in clouds using conventional, heavier components.
Madkhali says in the paper that its “plug and play” 3D-printed components can be used in other optical or vacuum systems essential to quantum technologies. But for now, she says, they plan to improve their designs on what’s known as an “optical magnetic trap” so they can create cold clouds of atoms with higher-than-normal numbers of atoms. The purpose of this goal is to achieve a system in which the effects of quantum gravity become detectable.
About the student Somaya Madhli
Master’s degree in Physics from the University of Miami
Lecture at Jazan University
PhD researcher in atomic and molecular physics and quantum optics in Britain
– Participated in international and regional conferences
Member of the American Society of Optics and Quantum Mechanics