Three-axis measurement and cancellation of background magnetic fields to less than 50 μg in a cold atom experiment

A. Smith, B. E. Anderson, S. Chaudhury, P. S. Jessen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Many experiments involving cold and ultracold atomic gases require very precise control of magnetic fields that couple to and drive the atomic spins. Examples include quantum control of atomic spins, quantum control and quantum simulation in optical lattices, and studies of spinor Bose condensates. This makes accurate cancellation of the (generally time dependent) background magnetic field a critical factor in such experiments. We describe a technique that uses the atomic spins themselves to measure dc and ac components of the background field independently along three orthogonal axes, with a resolution of a few tens of μG in a bandwidth of ∼1 kHz. Once measured, the background field can be cancelled with three pairs of compensating coils driven by arbitrary waveform generators. In our laboratory, the magnetic field environment is sufficiently stable for the procedure to reduce the field along each axis to less than ∼50 μG rms, corresponding to a suppression of the ac part by about one order of magnitude. This suggests that our approach can provide access to a new low-field regime in cold atom experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number205002
JournalJournal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 28 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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