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Designing and building a permanent magnet Zeeman slower for calcium atoms using a 3D printer

Alexandria Parsagian
Michaela Kleinert
Journal / Anthology

American Journal of Physics
Year: 2015
Volume: 83
Issue: 10
Page range: 892-899

We present the design of a Zeeman slower for calcium atoms using permanent magnets instead of more traditional electromagnets and the novel technique of 3D printing to create a very robust and flexible structure for these magnets. Zeeman slowers are ideal tools to slow atoms from several hundreds of meters per second to just a few tens of meters per second. These slower atoms can then easily be trapped in a magneto-optical trap, making Zeeman slowers a very valuable tool in many cold atom labs. The use of permanent magnets and 3D printing results in a highly stable and robust slower that is suitable for undergraduate laboratories. In our design, we arranged 28 magnet pairs, 2.0 cm apart along the axis of the slower and at varying radial distances from the axis. We determined the radial position of the magnets by simulating the combined field of all magnet pairs using Mathematica and comparing it to the ideal theoretical field for a Zeeman slower. Finally, we designed a stable, robust, compact, and easy-to-align mounting structure for the magnets in Google Sketchup, which we then printed using a commercially available 3D printer by Solidoodle. The resulting magnetic field is well suited to slow calcium atoms from the 770 m/s rms velocity at a temperature of 950 K, down to the capture velocity of the magneto-optical trap.

*Science > Physics