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RAP opportunity at National Institute of Standards and Technology     NIST

Miniaturized Cold Atom Sensors


Physical Measurement Laboratory, Sensor Science Division

opportunity location
50.68.51.C0380 Gaithersburg, MD

NIST only participates in the February and August reviews.


name email phone
Stephen Paul Eckel 301.975.8571


Grating-based magneto-optical traps (MOTs) have recently opened up a new path toward miniaturization of cold-atom technologies. In particular, grating MOTs of diverse species like Li, Sr, or even molecules offer paths toward making new sensors. Our motivation is making a cold-atom based vacuum standard (CAVS) that also doubles as a vacuum gauge [1]. Based on a grating MOT of lithium [2, 3], our gauge delivers a zero-chain traceable measurement of vacuum down into the extreme-high vacuum regime (<1e-12 torr). While now theoretically understood, the portable version of our gauge requires experimental verification. Beyond the immediate application of primary vacuum gauge, we are exploring adding new functionality to our grating chips in order to better integrate other photonic technologies. With modified gratings, we can better engineer cold atom traps for other applications such as inertial sensing. We can also compactify the setup, further enabling adoption of cold atom sensors. Finally, we are exploring means of better coupling atoms and photonic components to achieve new routes to quantum-enhanced sensing, quantum simulation, or even elements of the future quantum internet. Postdoctoral researchers in our group can delve into any one of these many potential thrusts.

[1] J. Scherschligt, J. A. Fedchak, D. S. Barker, S. Eckel, N. Klimov, C. Makrides, and E. Tiesinga, Metrologia 54, S125 (2017).

[2] S. Eckel, D. S. Barker, J. A. Fedchak, N. N. Klimov, E. Norrgard, J. Scherschligt, C. Makrides, and E. Tiesinga, Metrologia 55, S182 (2018).

[3] D. S. Barker, E. B. Norrgard, N. N. Klimov, J. A. Fedchak, J. Scherschligt, and S. Eckel, Phys. Rev. Appl. 11, 064023 (2019).

key words
Cold atoms; grating MOTs; photonics; vacuum standards; quantum sensors; quantum simulation; inertial sensing


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral applicants


Base Stipend Travel Allotment Supplementation
$82,764.00 $3,000.00
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