The development of low-cost, mass producible components for chip-scale atomic sensors would have a transformative effect in the burgeoning field of quantum technologies and the wider research of atomic physics. The proposed consortium amalgamates a global expertise in chip-scale components that has the potential, through collaborative efforts, to develop fully integrated, chip-scale platforms for atomic clocks and magnetometers.
The network will collaborate on the pursuit of novel portable sensors through the combination and development of photonically integrated chips, micro-fabricated vacuum technology, and application specific system controls. The programme of work will be separated into two parallel focus groups to tackle the challenges specific to atomic magnetometers and clocks. Crucially, the network structure will allow the transfer of common technology platforms and encourage synergies between the two work streams.
Challenge 1: Atomic Magnetometers
- Development of bespoke cell geometries and atomic mixtures to explore a range of magnetometry-based applications
- Exploration of density regulation and alkali vapour longevity in micro-fabricated cells
- Optical integration of novel photonic packages
Challenge 2: Atomic Clocks
- Advancement of component performance and scalability for thermal and cold-atom atomic clocks
- Photonically integrated laser and optical control components
- Amalgamation of chip-scale photonics platforms with micro-fabricated vapour cells
- Development of theoretical groundwork for novel methods to advance the performance of chip-scale clocks
In the proposed structure, the participants will engage in focussed magnetometer and clock collaboration chains, to enable collaboration on device specific components. However, the participants are not limited to exchange and collaboration within a single collaborative chain, with several key participants highlighted as flowing between each challenge. This facilitates the involvement of teams in both challenges, as well as providing a simple route for technology-transfer between chains. The involvement of our industrial participants will feed in and out of the challenge chains to provide micro-fabricated components (Kelvin Nanotechnology) and sensors packing (Alter Technology) with simplified electronics (Redwave Electronics). Such a process chain enables a clear route to chip-scale sensor development, with a focus on collaboration at its core.