Arnold diffusion in a driven optical lattice
The effect of time-periodic forces on matter has been a topic of growing interest since the advent of lasers. It is known that dynamical systems with 2.5 or more degrees of freedom are intrinsically unstable. As a consequence, time-periodic driven systems can experience large excursions in energy. We analyze the classical and quantum dynamics of rubidium atoms confined to a time-periodic optical lattice with 2.5 degrees of freedom. When the laser polarizations are orthogonal, the system consists of two 1.5 uncoupled dynamical systems. When laser polarizations are turned away from orthogonal, an Arnold web forms and the dynamics undergoes a fundamental change. For parallel polarizations, we find huge random excursions in the rubidium atom energies and significant entanglement of energies in the quantum dynamics.