The state-of-the-art for the ultra-high-vacuum pressures of smaller than 10-10 mbar needed for cold atom systems is relatively bulky using heavy metal chambers with standard cf flanges and glass windows or custom glass cells attached to them. There is some work in shrinking these using atom chips and small glass cells [http://www.coldquanta.com/] but still using standard technology and not having anti-reflection-coating on the inside and outside as would be desirable to avoid systematic errors in precision measurements. In terms of non-standard vacuum technology some encouraging experimental tests have been performed using indium, lead or glue seals. In addition some specialist solutions e.g. from UKAEA special techniques offer custom low-volume glass-metal seals, but no standard small cold atom chamber has yet emerged from this and standard ar-coatings do not withstand the high temperatures used.
iSense will realize novel compact and fully UHV compatible systems with full anti-reflection coating as necessary for ultra-precise sensor applications. The size of below 0.001 m3 will be more than 1 order of magnitude smaller than the current state-of-the-art.
Research progress in the 1st year
Various glass-metal bonding techniques have been tested. Non-glue techniques have proven susceptible to failure, such that the decision was taken to base the iSense vacuum chamber on modern gluing technology.
The iSense Science chamber is complete and in use.