Spin damping in an rf atomic magnetometer

Orang Alem, Karen L. Sauer, Mike V. Romalis

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13 Scopus citations


Under negative feedback, the quality factor Q of a radio-frequency atomic magnetometer can be decreased by more than two orders of magnitude, so that any initial perturbation of the polarized spin system can be rapidly damped, preparing the magnetometer for detection of the desired signal. We find that noise is also suppressed under such spin damping, with a characteristic spectral response corresponding to the type of noise; therefore magnetic, photon shot, and spin-projection noise can be measured distinctly. While the suppression of resonant photon shot noise implies the closed-loop production of polarization-squeezed light, the suppression of resonant spin-projection noise does not imply spin squeezing, rather simply the broadening of the noise spectrum with Q. Furthermore, the application of spin damping during phase-sensitive detection suppresses both signal and noise in such a way as to increase the sensitivity bandwidth. We demonstrate a threefold increase in the magnetometer's bandwidth while maintaining 0.3 fT/√Hz sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number013413
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 16 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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