A new erbium MOT in the T-REQS lab!

After several months of preparations and setting up our system, we have produced our first ultracold atomic cloud of erbium atoms in our new T-REQS lab. After initial slowing down in a Zeeman slower with a broad transition, we trap and cool 166Er atoms in a 5 beam magneto-optical trap operating on the narrow linewidth transition at 583nm. We trap up to 120 million atoms and cool them to ~15 microkelvin in a compressed MOT phase. This is a first step on our way to trapping ultracold erbium atoms in optical tweezers.

Erbium goes Rydberg

The TREQS team has made first observations of Erbium Rydberg levels in a hot atomic beam. We have found more than 550 highly excited states, which could be assigned to well-behaving ns, nd, ng series thanks to our collaborations with theorists Francis Robicheaux and Prof. Chris Greene from Purdue University.
Our results show how the unique properties of Erbium effect the Rydberg series and provide a first step to Rydberg physics with many-electrons atoms. In collaboration with Prof. Francis Robicheaux and Prof. Chris Greene from Purdue University, we have performed Multi-channel Quantum Defect Theory (MQDT) to explain our results, and assign principal quantum numbers to the s and d series. Our results open the way for future applications of Rydberg states for quantum simulation using Erbium and exploiting its unique properties based on its open-shell structure.

Our work has been published in the Open-Access Journal Physical Review Research