 
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 BoseEinstein 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
quantumclassical 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
offresonant laser beam. This is a realization of the so called quantum
deltakicked 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 Bosecondensed 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. 

