Control System for Cold Atom Experiments

Posted on Feb 23, 2013

We have developed a powerful yet inexpensive and easy to construct experiment control system. The construction of the system together with the control software is described here. All circuits and software are free to download and use for nonprofit. The system was developed for the BEC (Bose-Einstein condensation) experiments in the group of Prof. Mark Raizen at the University of Texas at Austin and is based on a system that one of the authors developed previously for experiments in the group of Christophe Salomon in Paris. It is now used by several other groups, among them the groups of Prof. Jook Walraven, Prof. Rudi Grimm, Prof. Randy Hulet, Prof. Kirk Madison, Prof. Lev Khaykovich and Prof. Gerard Meijer. The visualization software is even used by more groups.

Control System for Cold Atom Experiments
Click here to download the full size of the above Circuit.

The hardware here includes a design for analog outputs (16-bit DACs), digital outputs and a direct digital synthesis device (DDS) on a general purpose parallel bus which is easy to expand upon and interface with a variety of devices (i.e. analog inputs, microprocessors, etc). The hardware outputs are laboratory friendly with BNC-type outputs and line drive capacity. The software is intended for cold atom experiments and contains the code to talk with the hardware developed here. This system represents a simple to understand and cost effective method to control laboratory experiments. Hardware Manuals and layouts: Bus buffer, strobe generator and NI6533 adapter board (schematics, layout V3.3 schematics, layout V1,Gerber file), this board is part A above. Courtesy of Gerhard Hendl. Bus System Manual and layout (pdf): Description of the hardware of the parallel bus system. Contains schematic and layout for strobe pulse generator board. Analog Output Design Manual (pdf), Layout (Schematics Layout V2) (pcb123 file V1): 16-bit Digital-to-Analog (DAC) converter design to be used with the parallel bus system. Eight analog channels per board, each has a 1/4 Amp line driver and -10 to +10 Volt range. Digital Output Design Manual (pdf), Layout (Schematics, Layout V3) (pcb123 file, V1): 16 buffered line driver digital outputs per board. RF Synthesizer Manual (new Version 2.x) (pdf), Layout (pcb123 file, gerber files, partlist):...

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