HMC Physics Colloquium

Tuesdays at 16:30 in Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning, Room B460

James Higbie

University of California at Berkeley

Ultra-Sensitive Atomic Magnetometry: From Fieldable Sensors to High-Resolution Magnetic Microscopy

Feb. 12, 2008

Precision measurement of magnetic fields on the centimeter to meter scale has a wide range of fundamental scientific and practical applications, including co-magnetometry for fundamental-particle electric dipole-moment searches, space magnetometry, sensing of biomagnetism, detection of unexploded ordnance, and geophysical exploration. Atomic magnetometers, as high-sensitivity, cryogen-free sensors, are well suited to these applications; development of the next generation of atomic magnetometers, incorporating modern opto-electronic technology, is an active area of research. In the last decade, the techniques of laser cooling and trapping have enabled the ultimate degree of control over the motion and coherence of atomic samples, making possible an extension of atomic magnetometry to the micrometer scale. I will discuss recent results in both macro- and micro-scale magnetometry, and describe plans to build a high-resolution magnetic microscope using ultra-cold atoms, with applications ranging from neuroscience to materials characterization.