Experiments with a Bose-Einstein condensate in a quasi-1D magnetic waveguide

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2006

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Henderson, Kevin Christopher

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This thesis is primarily a comprehensive discussion of the development of two experimental studies: the quantum transport and effects of heating of ultracold atoms. It specifically provides details of the manipulation and control of ultracold atoms in magnetic waveguides, optical lattices, and optical billiards. The design, construction, and implementation of experimental apparati are also outlined and additional experimental tests are summarized, including the realization of a macroscopic transport (> 20 cm) system for ultracold atoms and transmission of ultracold atoms through a random optical potential. The first experiment is a study of the quantum transport for atoms confined in a periodic potential. These results include a comparison made of thermal and BEC initial conditions. Here, observation of ballistic transport is made for all values of well depth and initial conditions, and the expansion rates for thermal atoms are shown to be in excellent agreement with a singleparticle model. For weak wells (V0/ER ≤ 6), the expansion of the BEC is also in excellent agreement with single-particle theory, using an effective temperature model based on single (non-interacting) particle theory. For deep wells (V0/ER ≥ 6), a crossover is observed to a new regime for the BEC case, indicating the importance of interactions on quantum transport. The second experiment is a study of the effect of different heating rates on a dilute Bose gas confined in a quasi-1D finite, leaky box. An optical kicked-rotor is used to transfer energy to the atoms while two repulsive optical beams are used to confine the atoms. The average energy of the atoms is localized after a large number of kicks and the system reaches a nonequilibrium steady state. A numerical simulation of the experimental data suggests that the localization is due to energetic atoms leaking over the barrier. Our data also indicates a correlation between collisions and the destruction of the BoseEinstein condensate fraction and an exponential decay in phase space density.

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