March 30, 2023: Almost ready to test for leaks!

Danielle, Judith and Dr. Mossman finished reconnecting the turbo pump and installed the mass spectrometer. Last thing to connect is the ion pump and we are ready to do a Helium leak test!

March 21, 2023: Back to Vacuum

Judith, Danielle, and Dr. Mossman worked to get the vacuum system back together after having to redesign the 2D magneto-optical trap chamber mount (thanks to Danielle for machining!). We even installed our beautiful glass cell!

Danielle (left) and Judith (right) installing windows.

Our beautiful (and now covered up) glass cell!

December 1-10 2022: The one where the Mossmans go to Cambridge with Peter

Dr. Mossman, the other Dr. Mossman, and Dr. Engels traveled to the Isaac Newton Institute at Cambridge for the Dispersive Hydrodynamics Workshop on Physical Applications.

Sean, Maren, and Peter getting ready for the chill after the workshop.

Dr. Mossman presenting at Isaac Newton Institute in Cambridge, UK in Dec 2022.

August 8, 2022: First Fiber Coupling in the Lab

Judith learned how to couple laser light into a fiber – making this a first for the lab!

August 4, 2022: The Gang Goes to JPL

USD – WSU – CU Boulder Collaboration. Top L-R: Dr. Mossman, Judith, Carlo, Danielle, Colby (WSU), and Dr. Peter Engels (WSU). Bottom L-R: Dustin, Andrew, Nobel Laureate Dr. Eric Cornell (CU Boulder), and Lena.

The group traveled to Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the 4th anniversary celebration of the launch of the Cold Atom Laboratory. Students were treated to a tour around the JPL campus and mingled with well-known cold-atom researchers!

L-R: Carlo, Dustin, Lena and Judith in front of the EOMOC.

Getting a tour at the Engineering Module Test Bed (EMTB) led by Dr. Ethan Elliot.

July 19, 2022: We’ve been framed!

Our exoskeleton frame for the large optics table has been assembled! Thanks to the people at Vention for making this straightforward to assemble.

June 16, 2022: A new canvas arrived in the lab…

We have another optics table! The original table has been rolled down the lab, making room for a 3’x8’x8″ table for the Rb and K optical setups.

May 30 – June 3, 2022: DAMOP

Dr. Mossman and post bachelor research scholar Judith Gonzalez Sorribes attended the APS annual meeting of the Division of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics (DAMOP) in Orlando, Florida. Judith presented her first poster at an international conference, detailing the work completed by her, Danielle Smith, and Lee Lennon over the last year. Dr. Mossman presented work completed in an experimental collaboration with Dr. Peter Engels at Washington State University. Looking forward to another great conference next year!

Judith with her poster

Dr. Mossman and Judith at the Welcome Reception

Dec 10, 2021: New paper published in Nature Communications

Dr. Mossman and her collaborators at Washington State University published a paper on Gravitational caustics in an atom laser in Nature Communications (open access). Accompanying this publication is a feature article from WSU Insider about the research.

Dec 9, 2021: CBS News Coverage

The Channel 8 CBS San Diego News stopped by the lab to talk about the new CBL Physics Identity Program and the importance of female representation in physics. Check out the news feature here:

Dec 7, 2021: DPB UG Research Forum

Student researcher Judith Gonazalez Sorribes presented her PHYS 496 research project during the PHYS 400 Poster session. This was Judith’s first ever poster session and she did great work! Judith has been working with Dr. Mossman to design and model the magnetic coils for the 3D magneto-optical trap, which will also serve as the main high gradient magnetic trapping coils for the machine.

Fall Semester, 2021: High temp bake-out

Our stainless steel vacuum chamber has been baking out at 350 degrees Celsius for the last three months. Student researcher Danielle Smith has been the main student monitoring the temperatures and making sure that everything is stable. We will start to turn down the temps once finals are over.

Aug 10-13, 2021: So much progress this week!

The QHL had a distinguished faculty visitor this week. Dr. Engels from Washington State University (and Prof. Mossman’s old boss) came down for some sunshine and to come see the lab. Lots of projects that were close to finished were pushed into completion and we got a ton of firsts in the lab this week!

  1. After some debugging, the current driver and temperature controller for the laser is up and running. This allowed us to get first laser light in the lab!
  2. Once the laser was working, we were then able to set up the Rb-87 spectroscopy and applied our dither boxes (the one that Lee soldered and put together earlier this year) and adjusted our side-lock boxes for laser locking.
  3. Now that we have a working laser system for cooling, we turned our attention to the vacuum system. After finishing putting together the necessary components, we revved up the turbo pump and saw there were no big leaks in the system (turbo revved up to the optimal 1500 Hz rotor spin speed).
  4. After letting it run for the day, Danielle and Dr. Mossman went about wrapping the machine with heater tape and positioning thermocouples for temperature monitoring. During this time, Carlo Sanchez got the chance to solder for the first time!
  5. Then it came to the actually wrapping of the machine in layers upon layers of tin foil to keep the heat in and well distributed on the apparatus. With four people focused on completing this task – it went rather quickly! Unfortunately we had to stop at ~75% because we ran out of thermocouples and needed to order more.

Thanks to Dr. Engels for his guidance this week!

June 17-18, 2021: UHV Chamber Assembly

Danielle, Lee and Prof. Mossman started assembling the UHV and getting the turbo pump ready for action! In this process, Danielle and Lee learned about proper (and clean) UHV part handling and procedures on attaching components for a UHV system (while rocking out to female power ballads from the 80s). Now we have a *very* heavy stainless steel main chamber assembled! It took all three of us to place it on the optics table – yay, teamwork! Chamber is upside-down in the last image. Everyone is taking off Monday to recognize Juneteenth, but then we are starting back up to assemble the 2D MOT chamber on Tuesday(!!!).

June 9, 2021: Soldering Party

Lee, Danielle Smith and Prof. Mossman had a soldering party to put together a dual temperature controller for our homemade ECDL lasers. We even found a spare Weller soldering iron so that each student could work on different parts! Prof. Mossman was very excited about that.

May 3, 2021: We have power!

Lee and Prof. Mossman finished soldering, putting together, and testing our +/-15 V, +5 V, 1.5 A power supply.

April 1, 2021: Everything is being covered in googley eyes…

As an April Fools joke, Lee put googley eyes on everything and now we have tons of technology staring at us.

Feb 18, 2021: Table is floating and level

Was brought an old compressor by one of the technical staff in the department. After an inspection, necessary replacement of one of the bolts, and some finagling of table adjustments, we plugged it in and now have a floating table!

Feb 11, 2021: Lee’s first PCB

Student researcher Lee Lennon completed her first PCB after learning to solder and read a circuit diagram in the lab. The circuit she completed is a dither circuit used to lock to a specific frequency with our ECDLs.

Dec 15, 2020: Starting to look like a lab!

Ordered my electronics boards from OshPark and started getting some boards made.

Sept 25, 2020: Lab renovations coming together and a new soldering iron to play with

Shelving and hanging racks are coming together in the lab. Tom does beautiful work! I also have compressed air now and no chilled water running over where my tables (and thus optics and electronics) are.

August 19, 2020: “New” Optics Table!

We received our first optics table from UCSD Surplus! It is a used 4’x8’x12″ table that was a bit damaged, dirty and dusty (it was like that before I bought it!), but I spent a good while cleaning the surface and making it presentable. Looking forward to filling it up with optics and lasers!

June 25, 2020: A blank canvas!

My family and I arrived in San Diego 10 days ago and I am finally getting the chance to come to campus (masks on!) to move into my office and check out my lab. After unpacking all of my books and organizing my office, I took the laser given to me from my old PI to the lab. I am very fortunate to have had a PI that is willing to share so many things with me, including old apparatus designs, electronic schematics, and an old ECDL laser of an older design so that I can start testing my SatSpec setups and electronics.

Looking at the lab, there are some modifications that I am hoping to get done, including

  • Removing the exhaust arm from the ceiling

  • Installing a 2′ deep shelving unit along the North wall for frequency generators and DAC & TTL electronics

  • Installing pressurized air for floating tables

  • Installing anchored racks from the ceiling

In my first trip, I marked off where two tables could go – one 4′ x 8′ and the other a 4′ x 10′. I made a scaled model of the lab after being given dimensions of the lab to play around with table positions. However, looking at the space with marked tape, it looks like these two tables may not be ideal for this space. I now need to consider perhaps using a single large table for the lab. This has been done before, for instance in Debbie Jin’s lab and in Eric Cornell’s original lab. So with careful planning, I could build everything on a single 5′ x 10′ table. I have also considered building all of the SatSpec setups in a rack system – which I am still considering but I need to look at the space more carefully once I have the optics table position planned out!

This is all a new adventure for me and I have a great blank canvas to start!