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All-Optical Spinor Bose-Einstein Condensation and the Spinor Dynamics-Driven Atom Laser


Lundblad, Nathan Eric (2006) All-Optical Spinor Bose-Einstein Condensation and the Spinor Dynamics-Driven Atom Laser. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/WEVF-9991.


Optical trapping as a viable means of exploring the physics of ultracold dilute atomic gases has revealed a new spectrum of physical phenomena. In particular, macroscopic and sudden occupation of the ground state below a critical temperature—-a phenomenon known as Bose-Einstein condensation—-has become an even richer system for the study of quantum mechanics, ultracold collisions, and many-body physics in general. Optical trapping liberates the spin degree of the BEC, making the order parameter vectorial (‘spinor BEC’), as opposed to the scalar order of traditional magnetically trapped condensates.

The work described within is divided into two main efforts. The first encompasses the all-optical creation of a Bose-Einstein condensate in rubidium vapor. An all-optical path to spinor BEC (as opposed to transfer to an optical trap from a magnetic-trap condensate) was desired both for the simplicity of the experimental setup and also for the potential gains in speed of creation; evaporative cooling, the only known path to dilute-gas condensation, works only as efficiently as the rate of elastic collisions in the gas, a rate that starts out much higher in optical traps. The first all-optical BEC was formed elsewhere in 2001; the years following saw many groups worldwide seeking to create their own version. Our own all-optical spinor BEC, made with a single-beam dipole trap formed by a focused CO₂ laser, is described here, with particular attention paid to trap loading, measurement of trap parameters, and the use of a novel 780 nm high-power laser system.

The second part describes initial experiments performed with the nascent condensate. The spinor properties of the condensate are documented, and a measurement is made of the density-dependent rate of spin mixing in the condensate. In addition, we demonstrate a novel dual-beam atom laser formed by outcoupling oppositely polarized components of the condensate, whose populations have been coherently evolved through spin dynamics. We drive coherent spin-mixing evolution through adiabatic compression of the initially weak trap. Such dual beams, nominally number-correlated through the angular momentum-conserving collision m=0 + m=0 ⇌ m=+1 + m=-1 have been proposed as tools to explore entanglement and squeezing in Bose-Einstein condensates.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:atom lasers; bose-einstein condensation; evaporative cooling; optical trapping; spinor dynamics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Libbrecht, Kenneth George (advisor)
  • Maleki, Lute (co-advisor)
Thesis Committee:
  • Libbrecht, Kenneth George (co-chair)
  • Maleki, Lute (co-chair)
  • Refael, Gil
  • Mabuchi, Hideo
  • Thompson, Robert J.
Defense Date:19 May 2006
Non-Caltech Author Email:lundblad (AT)
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-05242006-104400
Persistent URL:
Lundblad, Nathan Eric0000-0003-0430-8064
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:2009
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:30 May 2006
Last Modified:02 Apr 2020 21:54

Thesis Files

PDF (nl_thesis_ELECTR.pdf) - Final Version
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