The analogy between atomic and nuclear spins is exploited to implement 3D imaging of polarization inside the cell of an atomic magnetometer. The resolution of 0.8 mm x 1.2 mm x 1.4 mm has been demonstrated with the gradient-echo imaging method. The imaging can be used in many applications. One such an application is the evaluation of active volume of an atomic magnetometer for sensitivity analysis and optimization. It has been found that imaging resolution is limited due to de-phasing from spin-exchange collisions and diffusion in the presence of gradients, and for a given magnetometer operational parameters, the imaging sequence has been optimized. Diffusion decay of the signal in the presence of gradients has been modeled numerically and analytically, and the analytical results, which agreed with numerical simulations, have been used to fit the spin-echo gradient measurements to extract the diffusion coefficient. The diffusion coefficient was found in agreement with previous measurements.
Savukov, I. (2015). Gradient-echo 3D imaging of Rb polarization in fiber-coupled atomic magnetometer. Journal of Magnetic Resonance, 256, 9–13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmr.2015.03.012