We report on the origin of fragmentation of ultracold atoms observed on a magnetic film atom chip. Radio frequency spectroscopy and optical imaging of the trapped atoms is used to characterize small spatial variations of the magnetic field near the film surface. Direct observations indicate the fragmentation is due to a corrugation of the magnetic potential caused by long range inhomogeneity in the film magnetization. A model which takes into account two-dimensional variations of the film magnetization is consistent with the observations.
Whitlock, S., Hall, B., Roach, T., Anderson, R., Volk, M., Hannaford, P., & Sidorov, A. (2007). Effect of magnetization inhomogeneity on magnetic microtraps for atoms. Physical Review A, 75(4), 043602-1 - 043602-6. https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevA.75.043602