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Challenges to miniaturizing cold atom technology for deployable vacuum metrology



Stephen P. Eckel, Daniel S. Barker, James A. Fedchak, Nikolai N. Klimov, Eric B. Norrgard, Julia K. Scherschligt, Constantinos Makrides, Eite Tiesinga


Cold atoms are excellent metrological tools; they currently realize SI time and, soon, SI pressure in the ultra-high (UHV) and extreme high vacuum (XHV) regimes. The development of primary, vacuum metrology based on cold atoms currently falls under the purview of national metrology institutes. Under the emerging paradigm of the ``quantum-SI'', these technologies become deployable (relatively easy-to-use sensors that integrate with other vacuum chambers), providing a primary realization of the Pascal in the UHV and XHV for the end-user. Here, we discuss the challenges that this goal presents. We investigate, for two different modes of operation, the expected corrections to the ideal cold-atom vacuum gauge and estimate the associated uncertainties. Finally, we discuss the appropriate choice of sensor atom, the light $^6$Li atom rather than the heavier $^{85}$Rb.


vacuum metrology, cold atom vacuum standard, magneto-optical trap, magnetic trap, cold core technology
Created September 14, 2018, Updated November 10, 2018