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Opt Express. 2008 Aug 18;16(17):13062-9.

A single-shot imaging magnetometer using cold atoms.

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  • 1Optical Sciences Division, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC 20375, USA.


We demonstrate a technique for imaging magnetic fields using velocity-selective two-photon resonances in a cold atom cloud. Freely expanding (85)Rb atoms released from a magneto-optical trap are exposed to a brief (approximately 1 ms), off-resonant, retro-reflected laser pulse in a lin-perp-lin configuration. Two-photon resonance between magnetic sublevels occurs only for atoms in narrow velocity classes dependent on the magnetic field strength. The momentum of resonant atoms is altered by the pulse, and this two-photon momentum change is easily visible after further ballistic expansion. When the momentum pulse is applied to an atom cloud with finite size, magnetic field variations across the sample result in position-dependent features in images of the expanded cloud. We demonstrate the technique by imaging magnetic field variations over approximately 5 mm with approximately 250 microm spatial resolution.

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