The University of Southampton

Optical MEMS - Atom Chips

MEMs and NEMs

The project is concerned with the investigation of using micromachining techniques to design and realise Atom Chips. Clouds of atoms are levitated by magnetic fields above a silicon surface and guided along pathways. This is achieved by passing current through wires creating the magnetic fields. Additionally, the atoms clouds interact with photons which are brought to the atom clouds by optical waveguides. Applications are for highly sensitive interferometers, gates for quantum computers and gravity measurement sensors. MEMS fabrication techniques to be developed require to electroplate the high-current density wires on a silicon substrate and a micromirror actuated by a comb drive which is required for the optical readout. Another important aspect is the integration of optical fibres on the same chip. These fibres can be used for novel modulation techniques used in optical data communications systems.

Primary investigator

  • mk1

Secondary investigator

  • Prof. Ed Hinds (Imperial College)


  • Imperial College

Associated research groups

  • Nano Research Group
  • Southampton Nanofabrication Centre
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