Bose-Einstein Condensation and Quantum Chaos Laboratory
Oklahoma State University

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Quantum Chaos

The study of quantum systems placed in pulsed, spatially corrugated potentials is a field of research which impacts many areas of physics. It can shed light on subjects as diverse as chaos, quantum optics, quantum transport in condensed matter systems and some of the foundations of quantum mechanics. We are investigating several different aspects of this generic system using cold atoms placed in a standing wave of off resonant light. We are particularly interested in studying quantum chaos using Bose-Einstein condensates. This promises to make it possible to explore a completely new realm of quantum chaotic systems which have hitherto been unavailable to experimentalists.
            One of the first experiments we are planning is the production of quantum accelerator modes in a BEC. Quantum accelerator modes are formed by applying pulses of a corrugated potential to an ensemble of atoms. When a relative acceleration between the atoms and the potential is present it becomes possible for some atoms to receive more than one hundred photon recoils of momentum with very high efficiency. This has applications in atom optics which range from interferometry to lithography. The accelerator mode systems can also exhibit a wealth of quantum chaotic behavior which can allow for the investigation of quantum-classical correspondence.
             We are also interested in applying the pulsed standing light wave to the atoms while they are held in a harmonic trap formed by a focused off-resonant laser beam. This is a realization of the so called quantum delta-kicked harmonic oscillator (QDKHO), a model system which can be found in experiments on tokamak fusion, ion traps and turbulent fluid flow to name but a few. Even though the QDKHO is a close relative of the quantum delta kicked rotor (QDKR), in the classical regime the two systems exhibit completely different classes of chaotic behavior. We are using both uncondensed cold atoms and Bose-condensed atoms to examine a number of different properties of the QDKHO with the aim of coming to a better understanding of the role of chaos in quantum mechanics.





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