Optical pumping in a microfabricated Rb vapor cell using a microfabricated Rb discharge light source
Miniature (<few cm(3)) vapor-cell based devices using optical pumping of alkali atoms, such as atomic clocks and magnetometers, today mostly employ vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers as pump light sources. Here, we report on the demonstration of optical pumping in a microfabricated alkali vapor resonance cell using (1) a microfabricated Rb discharge lamp light source, as well as (2) a conventional glass-blown Rb discharge lamp. The microfabricated Rb lamp cell is a dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) light source, having the same inner cell volume of around 40 mm(3) as that of the resonance cell, both filled with suitable buffer gases. A miniature (similar to 2 cm(3) volume) test setup based on the M-z magnetometer interrogation technique was used for observation of optical-radiofrequency double-resonance signals, proving the suitability of the microfabricated discharge lamp to introduce efficient optical pumping. The pumping ability of this light source was found to be comparable to or even better than that of a conventional glass-blown lamp. The reported results indicate that the micro-fabricated DBD discharge lamp has a high potential for the development of a new class of miniature atomic clocks, magnetometers, and quantum sensors. (C) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.