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Sci Rep. 2016 Nov 10;6:36547. doi: 10.1038/srep36547.

Spin exchange broadening of magnetic resonance lines in a high-sensitivity rotating K-Rb-21Ne co-magnetometer.

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School of Instrument Science and Opto-Electronics Engineering, Beihang University, Beijing 100191, China.
School of Instrument Science and Engineering, Southeast University, Nanjing 210096, China.


Atomic co-magnetometers can be utilized for high-precision angular velocity sensing or fundamental physics tests. The sensitivity of a co-magnetometer determines the angle random walk of an angular velocity sensor and the detection limit for a fundamental physics test. A high-sensitivity K-Rb-21Ne co-magnetometer, which is utilized for angular velocity sensing, is presented in this paper. A new type of spin relaxation of Rb atom spins, which can broaden the zero-field magnetic resonance lines of the co-magnetometer, is discovered. Further studies show that the spin relaxation of Rb atoms is caused by a high Rb electron magnetization field. With this discovery, the total relaxation rate of Rb atoms is optimized to improve the sensitivity of the co-magnetometer. Moreover, its sensitivity is optimized by suppressing various noises. Especially, to suppress laser-related noises, the co-magnetometer is designed such that the sensitive axis of the co-magnetometer can be fixed to the direction in which the projection input of the earth's rotation is 0. This is called a rotating co-magnetometer. A magnetic field sensitivity of 1.0 fT/Hz-1/2@5 Hz, which is equal to an angular velocity sensitivity of 2.1 × 10-8 rad s-1 Hz-1/2@5 Hz, is demonstrated using a spherical vapour cell with a diameter of 14 mm.

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