In recent weeks, the SAM team has made a few upgrades to the Ne gas handling setup. For single atom detection, it is essential that other fluorescence sources are minimized as much as possible. Impurities in the neon film where the Yb and Mg atoms get embedded could act as fluorescent background sources. In addition, impurities in the source neon gas decreases the crystal quality of the deposited thin film and will hence decrease the optical transmission through the film.
In order to increase the neon gas purity and thereby the film purity the SAM team installed two stage noble gas purification to remove impurities. The first stage is a heated getter which removes impurities such as oxygen, hydrogen or carbon dioxide. The second stage is a liquid nitrogen activated carbon trap which primarily removes water contamination. With these two improvements we hope to increase the neon film quality drastically. -JW