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Method for characterizing self-assembled monolayers as antirelaxation wall coatings for alkali vapor cells



Y Yi, Hugh Robinson, Svenja A. Knappe, J Maclennan, C Jones, Chengjie Zhu, N Clark, John E. Kitching


A method for characterizing self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) in terms of their performance as anti-relaxation wall coatings for alkali atom vapor cells is described. A combination of initial surface analysis with subsequent laser spectroscopy is used to give insight into the quality of the coating as well as its performance under the exposure to alkalis as occurs, for example when coatings are used in applications like atomic magnetometers or clocks. Fused silica plates coated with octadecyltrichlorosilane (OTS) SAMs were used to make cubic 87Rb gas cells. The surfaces were characterized using X-ray diffraction, contact angle measurements, and atomic force microscopy (AFM). Measurements of hyperfine resonance line widths and frequency shifts show that the rubidium vapor atoms collide up to 40 times with the walls of the cells before their coherence relaxes and their adsorption energy is around 0.065(2) eV. Chemical analysis of the cell indicates some weak reactions between the coating and the rubidium atoms.
Journal of Applied Physics


alkali atom vapor cells, anti-relaxation wall coatings, octadecyltrichlorosilane, OTS, SAM, self-assembled monolayers


Yi, Y. , Robinson, H. , Knappe, S. , Maclennan, J. , Jones, C. , Zhu, C. , Clark, N. and Kitching, J. (2008), Method for characterizing self-assembled monolayers as antirelaxation wall coatings for alkali vapor cells, Journal of Applied Physics, [online], (Accessed June 19, 2024)


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Created July 30, 2008, Updated February 17, 2017