Coherent control of cold atoms in a[n] optical lattice
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The dynamics of non-interacting, ultracold alkali atoms in the presence of counter-propagating lasers (optical lattice systems) is considered theoretically. The center of mass motion of an atom is such a system can be described by an effective Hamiltonian of a relatively simple form. Modulation of the laser fields implies a parametric variation of the effective Hamiltonian's eigenvalue spectrum, under which avoided crossings may occur. We investigate two dynamical processes arising from these near-degeneracies, which can be manipulated to coherently control atomic motion. First, we demonstrate the mechanism for the chaos-assisted, or multiple-state, tunneling observed in recent optical lattice experiments. Second, we propose a new method for the coherent acceleration of lattice atoms using the techniques of stimulated Raman adiabatic passage (STIRAP). In each case we use perturbation analysis to show the existence of a small, few level, subsystem of the full effective Schrödinger equation that determines the dynamics.