Building a Better Atomic Clock

<p>Since 1967, the Second has been defined by the CGPM as 9,192,631,770 periods of oscillation\&nbsp;corresponding to a transition between two hyperfine levels in a Cesium atom with zero external\&nbsp;fields. Key to this denition was the fact that as experimentalists found new and more precise ways\&nbsp;to measure this frequency, the definition of the second would become more and more accurate with\&nbsp;time. However, in the last 30 years, new technologies based on tunable lasers addressing optical\&nbsp;transitions in atoms, ions, and molecules have offered an entirely new approach to defining the Second\&nbsp;with significantly higher precision and accuracy. Here, I will show that by trapping thousands\&nbsp;of atoms inside a specially engineered optical lattice, one can create an extremely accurate frequency\&nbsp;standard with 2 orders of magnitude improvement over current Cs standards. Furthermore, I will\&nbsp;explain that standards based on this technology are fundamentally more stable than the primary\&nbsp;standard by 3 orders of magnitude. Leapfrogging the currently held accuracy records of ion clocks,\&nbsp;this work documents the first optical lattice clock to best all other atomic clock implementations, a\&nbsp;mere 8 years after the first proof of principle experiments. In this thesis I will describe how we have\&nbsp;overcome a number of important systematic uncertainties to achieve these results. This revolution\&nbsp;in accuracy and precision opens the door for new experiments utilizing the clock as a probe of\&nbsp;quantum many-body physics. To this end, a new apparatus has been designed that combines the\&nbsp;unprecedented precision of clock experiments with the amazing progress attained in quantum gas\&nbsp;experiments.</p>
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University of Colorado Boulder
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