Magnetometric sensitivity optimization for nonlinear optical rotation with frequency-modulated light: rubidium D2 line

Kimball, D. F. Jackson
Jacome, L. R.
Guttikonda, Srikanth
Bahr, Eric J.
Chan, Lok Fai
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Atomic spin polarization of alkali atoms in the ground state can survive thousands of collisions with paraffin-coated cell walls. The resulting long spin-relaxation times achieved in evacuated, paraffin-coated cells enable precise measurement of atomic spin precession and energy shifts of ground-state Zeeman sublevels. In the present work, nonlinear magneto-optical rotation with frequency-modulated light (FM NMOR) is used to measure magnetic-field-induced spin precession for rubidium atoms contained in a paraffin-coated cell. The magnetometric sensitivity of FM NMOR for the rubidium D2 line is studied as a function of light power, detuning, frequency-modulation amplitude, and rubidium vapor density. For a 5-cm diameter cell at temperature T ~ 35 degrees C, the optimal shot-noise-projected magnetometric sensitivity is found to be 2 x 10^{-11} G/Hz^{1/2} (corresponding to a sensitivity to spin precession frequency of ~ 10 microHz/Hz^{1/2} or a sensitivity to Zeeman sublevel shifts of ~ 4 x 10^{-20} eV/Hz^{1/2}).
Comment: 17 pages, 13 figures, revised from version 1, submitted to Journal of Applied Physics
Physics - Atomic Physics, Physics - Optics