Education:  MOT

We have constructed a Magneto-Optic Trap (MOT) which will be used for educating high school and undergraduate students in the basic principles of atomic physics, lasers, optics and electronics.

The students will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with the wide array of equipment and techniques that are used in the construction of a MOT.

These include:
- Aligning laser light into a optical fiber
- Aligning an external cavity diode laser
- Performing high resolution atomic spectroscopy
- Using photodetectors
- Building electronic PID control circuits
- Understanding high vacuum systems

During the summer of 1999, our three high school students (Judy, Mengesha, and Jonathan) participating in the NASA Summer High School Apprenticeship Research Program (SHARP) helped build the MOT by (among other activities): building the photodetector circuits, assembling the vacuum chamber, making the electromagnetic coils, and aligning the entire optical system. Click here to see a PowerPoint presentation of their work as well as graphs of data they

Our 1999 REU student, Natalya Morrow, an undergraduate at Eastern Michigan University, built both external cavity diode lasers (ECDL) used in the MOT.

In the summer of 2000, NASA Summer High School Apprenticeship Research Program participants Anthuannete and Emmiluze helped to align and put on line external cavity laser diodes for the future use in the lab, and measured the number of atoms in our main MOT using the photodetector circuit they built.

Here are some photographs of the Education MOT

In the summer of 2001, Niviann Blondet and Vilas Rao from the NASA-SHARP program constructed a circuit that measured the amplified fluorescent light from a MOT. Click here for the powerpoint presentions.

Our education project is supported with a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF)