A tunable Bose-Einstein condensate for quantum interferometry

Landini, Manuele (2012) A tunable Bose-Einstein condensate for quantum interferometry. PhD thesis, University of Trento.

PDF - Doctoral Thesis


The subject of this thesis is the use of BECs for atom interferometry. The standard way atom interferometry is today performed is by interrogating free falling samples of atoms. The employed samples are cold (but not condensed) to have high coherence, and dilute, not to interact significantly with each other. This technique represents nowadays an almost mature field of research in which the achievable interferometric sensitivity is bounded by the atomic shot noise. Until a few years ago the employment of BECs in such devices was strongly limited by the effect of the interactions between the condensed atoms. This obstacle is today removable exploiting interaction tuning techniques. The use of BECs would be advantageous for atom interferometry inasmuch they represents the matter analogue of the optical laser providing the maximum coherence allowed by quantum mechanics. Moreover, non-linear dynamic can be exploited in order to prepare entangled states of the system. The realization of entangled samples can lead to sub-shot noise sensitivity of the interferometers. At today very nice proof-of-principle experiments have been realized in this direction but a competitive device is still missing. This thesis work is inserted in a long term project whose goal is the realization of such a device. The basic operational idea of the project starts with the preparation of a BEC in a double well potential. By the effect of strong interactions the atomic system can be driven into an entangled state. Once the entangled state is prepared, interactions can be ”switched off” and the interferometric sequence performed. This thesis begins with the description of the apparatus for the production of tunable BECs to be used in the interferometer. We chose to work with 39K atoms because this atomic species presents many convenient Feshabch resonances at easily accessible magnetic field values. The cooling of this particular atomic species presents many difficulties, both for the laser and evaporative cooling processes. For this reason, this was the last alkaline atom to be condensed. Its condensation up to now was only possible by employing sympathetic cooling with another species. In this thesis our solutions to the various cooling issues is reported. In particular we realized sub-Doppler cooling for the first time for this species and we achieved condensation via evaporation in an optical dipole trap taking advantage of a Feshbach resonance. In the last part of this work, are presented original calculations for the effects of thermal fluctuations on the coherence of a BEC in a double well, discussing the interplay between thermal fluctuations and interactions in this system. Estimations and feasibility studies regarding the double well trap to be realized are also reported.

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis (PhD)
Doctoral School:Physics
PhD Cycle:XXIV
Subjects:Area 02 - Scienze fisiche > FIS/03 FISICA DELLA MATERIA
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