The ABC’s of AMO Physics

Over at Confused at a Higher Level, Melissa offers an alphabetical list of essential supplies for a condensed matter experimentalist at a small college. This is a fun idea for back-to-school time, so I’ll steal it, and offer the following alphabetical list of essentials for Atomic, Molecular, and Optical physics at a small college, kind […]

What Do You Need to Make Cold Atoms? Part 3: Test and Measurement

The third category in our look at lab apparatus, after vacuum hardware and lasers and optics is the huge collection of electronic gear that we use to control the experiments. I’ll borrow the sales term “test and measurement” as a catch-all description, though this is really broader than what you’ll usually find in that category. […]

What Do You Need to Make Cold Atoms? Part 2: Lasers and Optics

Following on yesterday’s discussion of the vacuum hardware needed for cooling atoms, let’s talk about the other main component of the apparatus: the optical system. The primary technique used for making cold atoms is laser cooling, and I’m sure it will come as no surprise that this requires lasers, and where there are lasers, there […]

What Do You Need to Make Cold Atoms? Part 1: Vacuum Hardware

Over in the reader request thread, Richard asks for experimental details: I’d be interested in (probably a series) of posts on how people practically actually do cold atoms experiments because I don’t really know. I needed to take some new publicity photos of the lab anyway, so this is a good excuse to bust out […]

A Tale of Two Turbos

I spent most of Saturday in the lab, swapping out a turbopump that was starting to die. How could I tell? Well, for one thing, it made an awful noise, even more than usual for a noisy pump. But after it was stopped and unmounted from the chamber, there was a simple test: comparing the […]