A low phase noise microwave source for atomic spin squeezing experiments in [sup 87]Rb
We describe and characterize a simple, low cost, low phase noise microwave source that operates near 6.800 GHz for agile, coherent manipulation of ensembles of 87Rb. Low phase noise is achieved by directly multiplying a low phase noise 100 MHz crystal to 6.8 GHz using a nonlinear transmission line and filtering the output with custom band-pass filters. The fixed frequency signal is single sideband modulated with a direct digital synthesis frequency source to provide the desired phase, amplitude, and frequency control. Before modulation, the source has a single sideband phase noise near −140 dBc/Hz in the range of 10 kHz–1 MHz offset from the carrier frequency and −130 dBc/Hz after modulation. The resulting source is estimated to contribute added spin-noise variance 16 dB below the quantum projection noise level during quantum nondemolition measurements of the clock transition in an ensemble 7 × 105 87Rb atoms.