Bose-Einstein Condensates

In the Whitaker Lab we are in the process of rebuilding the lab we moved from Williams College, which was the second successful BEC machine built at an all-undergraduate institution. In our system atoms are precooled in a magneto-optical trap (MOT) by diode lasers to temperatures of a few hundred microKelvin. Once the atoms are collected in our MOT, we transfer them into an optical trap provided by a powerful CO2laser we call ‘Bernie’. Atoms are further cooled in the optical trap from the CO2 laser to temperatures below 1 microKelvin, where they form a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC).