Posted in | Nanoelectronics | Microscopy

Andor iXon EMCCD Camera Used for Atomtronics Research

Andor iXon 897 EMCCD Camera images 4 Bose-Einstein Condensates simultaneously iXon EMCCD camera's exceptional low light performance opens the door to real-time implementation of atomtronics.

Since the first demonstrations of Bose-Einstein condensation in 1995, ultra-cold matter has become a fertile and lively field of study. Research around the world is establishing a high level of understanding of the underlying physics for applications, such as inertial guidance systems, atomic clocks and quantum computing. Teams are also beginning to design and build compact, low-power instrumentation for handling ultra-cold atoms.

Atom Chip Magnetic Trap setup and high resolution image acquisition with the Andor iXon 897 EMCCD Camera

A team from the University of Colorado's physics department, led by Prof Dana Anderson, has now demonstrated a high-resolution projection and imaging system for ultra-cold atoms built from commercially available components. The silicon and glass atom chip at the heart of the system is metallised to enable magnetic trapping while the glass regions enable holographically-generated light patterns to optically slice the magnetic trap into separate regions. Up to four Bose-condensates have been generated simultaneously and fluorescent images captured on an Andor iXon EMCCD camera.

"Our research is aimed at developing "atomtronic" devices, atomic analogues to semiconductor-based electronics, such as transistors and diodes, which can be used to fabricate atomic circuits with real commercial applications," says Dr Evan Salim. "All of them will rely on quantum mechanical tunnelling of atoms through potential barriers and we must be able to detect and manipulate the atoms at micron or sub-micron scales. Our system greatly simplifies the process and enables a more flexible and robust device.

"We chose the Andor iXon for several reasons: the experiments relied on fluorescence imaging of small samples of atoms, typically 10-20 thousand atoms, and we needed a camera with exceptional low light performance. As well as meeting that performance requirement, the iXon EMCCD camera was already being used by colleagues doing similar work. Finally, we had previous experience of Andor's cameras in the past and valued their combination of performance and reliability. It was a good choice, as we used it for low-light, bright-light, and rapid imaging applications.

According to Colin Duncan, imaging application specialist at Andor, "Atomtronics have important theoretical advantages over conventional electronics, including superfluidity and superconductivity, minimal thermal noise and instability, and coherent flow. With such characteristics, atomtronics could play a key role in quantum computing, nanoscale amplifiers, and precision sensors. The work of Evan Salim and his colleagues at Colorado's JILA Institute, University of Colorado is very significant and opens the door to the real-time implementation of atomtronics in the near future."

To learn more about the iXon series of scientific cameras, please visit the Andor website at

About Andor

Andor is a world leader in Scientific Imaging, Spectroscopy Solutions and Microscopy Systems. Established in 1989 from Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Andor Technology now employs over 340 people in 16 offices worldwide, distributing its portfolio of over 70 products to 10,000 customers in 55 countries.

Andor’s digital cameras, designed and manufactured using pioneering techniques developed in-house, allow scientists around the world to measure light down to a single photon and capture events occurring within 1 billionth of a second. This unique capability is helping them push back the boundaries of knowledge in fields as diverse as drug discovery, toxicology analysis, medical diagnosis, food quality testing and solar energy research. More information about Andor Technology PLC (LSE: AND) is available at the company's website.

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