Blackbody Radiation Metrology with Atoms in a Vapor Cell

Dr. Eric Norrgard

National Institute of Standards and Technology

Monday April 8, 2024, 12 PM ET

Hybrid (In-Person & Virtual):

This seminar will be held at 12 PM at Rm 4102 of ESSIC, 5825 University Research Ct. College Park, MD 20740. In-person attendance is welcome with refreshment provided. Zoom is also provided for virtual participants.



Blackbodies are incoherent electromagnetic radiation sources that are ubiquitous in radiometry, temperature dissemination, and remote sensing. Despite their ubiquity, blackbody sources are susceptible to several systematic errors. In particular, substantial offsets are often observed between measured radiance temperature and temperature measured via contact thermometers.  Rydberg atoms are quantum systems which are highly sensitive to electromagnetic fields over many orders of magnitude in frequency.  Quantum measurements with these exquisite electric field sensors could enable active feedback, improved design, and, ultimately, lower radiometric and thermal uncertainties of blackbody standards. A portable, calibration-free Rydberg-atom physics package could also complement a variety of classical radiation detector and thermometers. I will present recent work from Compact Blackbody Radiation Atomic Sensor (CoBRAS) project at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.  This project is investigating multiple potential blackbody radiation sensing modalities in atomic vapor cells and implications on future calibration free sensors.



Eric Norrgard is a physicist in the Fundamental Thermodynamics group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.  He received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 2016, where he performed many of the first demonstrations of laser cooling and trapping of molecules. His research highlights include the first laser slowing of a molecular beam, the first magneto-optical trap of a molecule, and subsequent thousand-fold improvements in trapped molecule phase space density with a novel time-dependent trap (an “RF MOT”).  His postdoctoral career included development of the CeNTREX experiment toward measurement of the Schiff moment of the Thallium-205 nucleus, and development of a pressure sensor and standard based on cold atoms.  As an NRC postdoctoral fellow, he conceived the Platform for Realizing Integrated Molecule Experiments (PRIME) at NIST, which will allow for trapping molecules in record number for precision metrology and numerous other applications. His current research involves using atomic and molecular systems as quantum sensors of blackbody radiation, voltage, RF electromagnetic fields, and more.



This is a hybrid (in-person & virtual) seminar at 12 PM with refreshments served at Rm 4102 of ESSIC.


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Apr 08 2024


2:00 pm - 3:00 pm


John Xun Yang