Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Physics

First Advisor

Andreas Becker

Second Advisor

John Kitching

Third Advisor

Neil Ashby

Fourth Advisor

Heather Lewandowski

Fifth Advisor

Y.C. Lee

Abstract

Field-grade atomic clocks capable of primary standard performance in compact physics packages would be of significant value in a variety of applications ranging from network synchronization and secure communications to GPS hold-over and inertial navigation. A cold-atom coherent population trapping (CACPT) clock featuring laser-cooled 87RB atoms and pulsed Ramsey interrogation is a strong candidate for this technology if the principal frequency shifts can be controlled and the performance degradation associated with miniaturization can be overcome. In this thesis, research focused on the development of this type of compact atomic clock is presented. To address the low atom numbers obtained in small cold-atom sources, experiments were performed in which an atomic beam was decelerated with bichromatic stimulated laser forces and loaded into a mm-scale magneto-optical trap, increasing the atom number by a factor of 12.5x. A CACPT clock using the high-contrast lin||lin optical interrogation technique was developed and achieved a stability of 7 × 10-13 after one hour of integration. Doppler shifts in the clock are explained using a simple kinematic model and canceled by interrogating the atoms with a counter-propagating CPT configuration. Finally, a thorough characterization of the AC-stark effect in lin||lin CPT was performed. Observed shifts are explained in terms of contributions from coherent CPT-generating couplings and population transfer effects caused by optical pumping from incoherent light. Measurements are compared with existing and new theoretical treatments, and a laser configuration is identified that reduces clock drift from light shifts to less than 10-14 for the current system.

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