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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractIn contrast to electromagnetic fields, matter-wave fields are intrinsically interacting due to the presence of atom-atom collisions. Hence, matter-wave optics becomes effectively nonlinear as soon as the atomic densities are high enough that collisions can no longer be ignored. The goal of this dissertation is to study selected aspects of atom optics under such conditions. Specifically, Chapter 2 studies the near-resonant dipole-dipole interaction between two atoms in tailored vacua. In contrast to spontaneous emission, whose rate is known to be influenced by the type of vacuum the atom interacts with, we find that the dipole-dipole potential is determined only by the free space vacuum and is not modified either by thermal or squeezed vacua. In addition in the far off-resonance regime we find that the squeezed vacuum results in an additional contribution to the effective potential governing the evolution of the atomic ground state. In the second part of the dissertation, which comprises Chapter 3, we then study several aspects of the many-body theory of atomic ultracold systems in situations where the nonlinearity arises due to the two-body dipole-dipole interaction. After a formal theoretical development we discuss the possibility of using atomic phase conjugation off Bose condensates as a diagnostic tool to access the spatial coherence properties and to measure the lifetime of the condensate. We argue that phase conjugation provides an attractive alternative to the optical methods of probing condensate proposed in the past. We further study the elementary excitations in a multicomponent Bose condensates and determine the quasi-particle frequency spectrum. We show that in that case interferences resulting from cross-coupling between the condensate components can lead to a reversal of the sign of the effective two-body interaction and to the onset of spatial instabilities.
Degree ProgramGraduate College