The precise, low-temperature alkali vapor delivery
This technology integrates an alkali metal dispenser with a micro-collimator to create a localized and collimated atomic beam of alkali vapor that can be reversibly exposed to air without degrading its properties. Rubidium vapor is produced through a reduction reaction in the alkali metal dispenser. The rubidium vapor thermalizes with the collimator plate before emerging through the etched holes in the collimator plate, which guide the atom flux forward and simultaneously moderate its velocity. Georgia Tech’s invention is designed to moderate the dispenser radiation so that the emitting surface and the rubidium vapor are both considerably cooler than the dispenser itself, enabling electronic components to be placed in close proximity.
This technology can be used in nanotechnology, integrated photonics, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), and chip-scale atomic clocks—applications where there is a need for integrating alkali vapor sources directly at the locations of specific on-chip elements. Current technologies result in broad angular distribution of the alkali vapor, which can degrade the signal-to-noise ratio as well as contaminate nearby electronic components. Further, current alkali dispensers do not moderate the radiative heat from the required high-temperature (550–850°C) chemical reduction reaction, which can also influence nearby electronic components.
- Precise: Reducing the “spread” of vapor via collimation can reduce potential signal-to-noise ratio degradation and avoid contamination of nearby electronic components.
- Simple: Generating a directed atomic beam from the dispenser can be achieved via integrated packaging.
- Cooler: Placing a spacer material between the dispenser and collimator creates a sealed gap that not only prevents leakage but also allows the vapor to cool (via rapid thermalization with the collimator plate).
- Enabling: Moderating dispenser radiation allows for integration with electronic components in close proximity (e.g., chip-scale systems).
Potential Commercial Applications
Any application where there is a need for integrating alkali vapor sources directly on-chip, including:
- Integrated photonics
- MEMS devices
- Chip-scale atomic clock
Georgia Tech Office of Technology Licensing
- Dr. Chandra Raman, Professor - Georgia Tech School of Physics
- Yorick Andeweg, Former Research Assistant - Georgia Tech School of Physics
- Alexandra Crawford, Graduate Research Assistant - Georgia Tech School of Physics
- Bachao Wei, Graduate Research Assistant - Georgia Tech School of Physics
- Collimated Versatile Atomic Beam Source with Alkali Dispensers, arXiv, February 16, 2022
U.S. Application Filed
(a) Diagram of invention including integrated alkali metal dispenser, collimator plate and insulating spacer; (b) Photo of the actual fabricated device with spacer partially removed to view both dispenser and collimator clearly along with the 0.5 mm gap between them; Microscope images of collimator plate front (c) and back (d) surface showing the 115 µm diameter, laser-etched holes in front and 40 by 75 µm ellipses in back; (e) Fluorescence image of rubidium atom beams emitted from individual holes (traveling upwards in the picture)