G. Gauthier, I. Lenton, N. McKay Parry, M. Baker, M. J. Davis, H. Rubinsztein-Dunlop, and T. W. Neely
Programmable spatial light modulators have significantly advanced the configurable optical trapping of particles. Typically, these devices are utilized in the Fourier plane of an optical system, but direct imaging of an amplitude pattern can potentially result in increased simplicity and computational speed. Here we demonstrate high-resolution direct imaging of a digital micromirror device (DMD) at high numerical apertures (NAs), which we apply to the optical trapping of a Bose–Einstein condensate (BEC). We utilize a (1200×19201200×1920) pixel DMD and commercially available 0.45 NA microscope objectives, finding that atoms confined in a hybrid optical/magnetic or all-optical potential can be patterned using repulsive blue-detuned (532 nm) light with 630(10) nm full width at half-maximum resolution, within 5% of the diffraction limit. The result is near arbitrary control of the density of the BEC without the need for expensive custom optics. We also introduce the technique of time-averaged DMD potentials, demonstrating the ability to produce multiple gray-scale levels with minimal heating of the atomic cloud, by utilizing the high switching speed (20 kHz maximum) of the DMD. These techniques will enable the realization and control of diverse optical potentials for superfluid dynamics and atomtronics applications with quantum gases. The performance of this system in a direct imaging configuration has wider application for optical trapping at non-trivial NAs.