Optimization of Nuclear Polarization in an Alkali-Noble Gas Comagnetometer


Self-compensated comagnetometers, employing overlapping samples of spin-polarized alkali and noble gases (for example K-3He) are promising sensors for exotic beyond-the-standard-model fields and highprecision metrology such as rotation sensing. When the comagnetometer operates in the so-called self-compensated regime, the effective field, originating from contact interactions between the alkali valence electrons and the noble-gas nuclei, is compensated with an applied magnetic field. When the comagnetometer begins operation in a given magnetic field, spin-exchange optical pumping establishes an equilibrium between the alkali electron-spin polarization and the nuclear-spin polarization. Subsequently, when the magnetic field is tuned to the compensation point, the spin polarization is brought out of the equilibrium conditions. This causes a practical issue for long measurement times. We report on a method for closed-loop control of the compensation field. This method allows optimization of the operating parameters, especially magnetic field gradients, in spite of the inherently slow (hours to days) dynamics of the system. With the optimization, higher stable nuclear polarization, longer relaxation times, and stronger electron-nuclear coupling are achieved which is useful for nuclear-spin-based quantum memory, spin amplifiers, and gyroscopes. The optimized sensor demonstrates a sensitivity comparable to the best previous comagnetometer but with four times lower noble-gas density. This paves the way for applications in both fundamental and applied science.

Autorzy / Authors: 
E. Klinger, T. Liu, M. Padniuk, M. Engler, T. Kornack, S. Pustelny, D. F. Jackson Kimball, D. Budker, A. Wickenbrock
Phys. Rev. Appl. 19, 044092
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