Quantum tunneling and coherent wavepacket dynamics in an optical lattice
AuthorHaycock, David Lamoreaux
AdvisorJessen, Poul S.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis dissertation reports on the experimental study of coherent wavepacket dynamics of cesium atoms in the double-well potentials of a one-dimensional, far-off-resonance optical lattice. An optical lattice is the periodic potential produced by the light shift interaction of an atom with the light field of interfering laser beams. With the proper choice of laser parameters and external magnetic fields, an array of double-well potentials is created. Using the techniques of laser cooling, atoms are trapped in the lattice and are prepared in a pure state through a combination of enhanced laser cooling in a near-resonance lattice and state selection in an accelerated far-off-resonance lattice. The atoms are prepared on one side of the double-well potential, and the atomic wavepackets will then oscillate between the left and right localized states of the double-well potential. Entanglement between the internal and external degrees of freedom makes it possible to follow the center-of-mass motion of the atoms by measuring the ground state magnetic populations via Stern-Gerlach analysis. The coherent dynamics of these wavepackets was studied under various combinations of lattice parameters such as lattice depth, applied transverse and longitudinal magnetic fields. There is excellent agreement between the experimentally measured oscillation frequencies and those predicted from a numerical analysis of the bandstructure of the lattice. For certain lattice parameters the total energy of the atom is below the potential barrier and the coherent motion corresponds to tunneling through a classically forbidden barrier. At specific times during the oscillation the atomic wavepacket corresponds to a coherent superposition of the mesoscopically distinct left and right localized states.
Degree ProgramGraduate College