Imaging of microwave fields using ultracold atoms

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P. Böhi, M. F. Riedel, T. W. Hänsch, and P. Treutlein
Applied Physics Letters 97, 051101 (2010)

We report a technique that uses clouds of ultracold atoms as sensitive, tunable, and non-invasive probes for microwave field imaging with micrometer spatial resolution. The microwave magnetic field components drive Rabi oscillations on atomic hyperfine transitions whose frequency can be tuned with a static magnetic field. Readout is accomplished using state-selective absorption imaging. Quantitative data extraction is simple and it is possible to reconstruct the distribution of microwave magnetic field amplitudes and phases. While we demonstrate 2d imaging, an extension to 3d imaging is straightforward. We use the method to determine the microwave near-field distribution around a coplanar waveguide integrated on an atom chip.

The article was featured on the cover page of Applied Physics Letters.