Investigation of Anti-Relaxation Coatings for Alkali-Metal Vapor Cells using Surface Science Techniques
CALIFORNIA UNIV BERKELEY LAWRENCE BERKELEY LAB
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Many technologies based on cells containing alkali-metal atomic vapor benefit from the use of anti-relaxation surface coatings in order to preserve atomic spin polarization. In particular, paraffin has been used for this purpose for several decades and has been demonstrated to allow an atom to experience up to 10,000 collisions with the walls of its container without depolarizing, but the details of its operation remain poorly understood. We apply modern surface and bulk techniques to the study of paraffin coatings, in order to characterize the properties that enable the effective preservation of alkali spin polarization. These methods include Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, differential scanning calorimetry, atomic force microscopy, near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. We also compare the light-induced atomic desorption yields of several different paraffin materials. Experimental results include the determination that crystallinity of the coating material is unnecessary, and the detection of CC double bonds present within a particular class of effective paraffin coatings. Further study should lead to the development of more robust paraffin anti-relaxation coatings, as well as the design and synthesis of new classes of coating materials.
- Physical Chemistry
- Coatings, Colorants and Finishes
- Properties of Metals and Alloys
- Atomic and Molecular Physics and Spectroscopy