Stand-alone vacuum cell for compact ultracold quantum technologies

Oliver S. Burrow, Paul F. Osborn, Edward Boughton, Francesco Mirando, David P. Burt, Paul F. Griffin, Aidan S. Arnold, Erling Riis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
69 Downloads (Pure)


Compact vacuum systems are key enabling components for cold atom technologies, facilitating extremely accurate sensing applications. There has been important progress toward a truly portable compact vacuum system; however, size, weight, and power consumption can be prohibitively large, optical access may be limited, and active pumping is often required. Here, we present a centiliter-scale ceramic vacuum chamber with He-impermeable viewports and an integrated diffractive optic, enabling robust laser cooling with light from a single polarization-maintaining fiber. A cold atom demonstrator based on the vacuum cell delivers 10 7 laser-cooled 87Rb atoms per second, using minimal electrical power. With continuous Rb gas emission, active pumping yields a 17 day time constant. A vacuum cell, with no Rb dispensing and only passive pumping, has currently kept a similar pressure for more than 500 days. The passive-pumping vacuum lifetime is several years, which is estimated from short-term He throughput with many foreseeable improvements. This technology enables wide-ranging mobilization of ultracold quantum metrology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124002
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number12
Early online date20 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2021


  • ultracold quantum gases
  • optical traps
  • quantum technology


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