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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/29779

Title: Exploring Many-body Physics with Ultracold Atoms
Authors: LeBlanc, Lindsay Jane
Advisor: Thywissen, Joseph H.
Department: Physics
Keywords: ultracold atoms
many-body physics
Bose-Einstein condensate
quantum degeneracy
ferromagnetism
Josephson effects
Issue Date: 31-Aug-2011
Abstract: The emergence of many-body physical phenomena from the quantum mechanical properties of atoms can be studied using ultracold alkali gases. The ability to manipulate both Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) and degenerate Fermi gases (DFGs) with designer potential energy landscapes, variable interaction strengths and out-of-equilibrium initial conditions provides the opportunity to investigate collective behaviour under diverse conditions. With an appropriately chosen wavelength, optical standing waves provide a lattice potential for one target species while ignoring another spectator species. A “tune-in” scheme provides an especially strong potential for the target and works best for Li-Na, Li-K, and K-Na mixtures, while a “tune-out” scheme zeros the potential for the spectator, and is pre- ferred for Li-Cs, K-Rb, Rb-Cs, K-Cs, and 39K-40K mixtures. Species-selective lattices provide unique environments for studying many-body behaviour by allowing for a phonon-like background, providing for effective mass tuning, and presenting opportunities for increasing the phase-space density of one species. Ferromagnetism is manifest in a two-component DFG when the energetically preferred many-body configuration segregates components. Within the local density approximation (LDA), the characteristic energies and the three-body loss rate of the system all give an observable signature of the crossover to this ferromagnetic state in a trapped DFG when interactions are increased beyond kF a(0) = 1.84. Numerical simulations of an extension to the LDA that account for magnetization gradients show that a hedgehog spin texture emerges as the lowest energy configuration in the ferromagnetic regime. Explorations of strong interactions in 40K constitute the first steps towards the realization of ferromagnetism in a trapped 40K gas. The many-body dynamics of a 87Rb BEC in a double well potential are driven by spatial phase gradients and depend on the character of the junction. The amplitude and frequency characteristics of the transport across a tunable barrier show a crossover between two paradigms of superfluidity: Josephson plasma oscillations emerge for high barriers, where transport is via tunnelling, while hydrodynamic behaviour dominates for lower barriers. The phase dependence of the many-body dynamics is also evident in the observation of macroscopic quantum self trapping. Gross-Pitaevskii calculations facilitate the interpretation of system dynamics, but do not describe the observed damping.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/29779
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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