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The vapor cells to be filled with Hg are first welded to a quartz 'manifold' which can be put under vacuum to minimize any gaseous impurities in the cells. liquid Hg is moved inside the vacuum system by cooling areas of the glass with dewars filled with liquid nitrogen.






A finished vapor cell. The walls of the cell are made from high-purity fused silica for UV transparency and high electrical resistance. Inside the cell there is approximately 0.3 mg of isotopically-enriched 199Hg, 400 torr of CO buffer gas, and a wax coating of dotriacontane (C32H66) which can dramatically improve the coherence times of polarized Hg atoms.






Ultraviolet (254nm) laser system. UV laser light is derived from a high-power infrared (IR) diode laser in the white box on the upper right. The IR beam can be seen passing through the first of two resonant cavities near the center of the image, where a non-linear potassium-niobate crystal is used to convert IR to green light at twice the frequency. To the left is the second doubling cavity, which converts green light to UV at the wavelength necessary for our experiment.