Coherent decay of Bose-Einstein condensates
Author(s)Cragg, George E. (George Edwin), 1972-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Mechanical Engineering.
Arthur K. Kerman.
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As the coldest form of matter known to exist, atomic Bose-Einstein condensates are unique forms of matter where the constituent atoms lose their individual identities, becoming absorbed into the cloud as a whole. Effectively, these gases become a single macroscopic object that inherits its properties directly from the quantum world. In this work, I describe the quantum properties of a zero temperature condensate where the atoms have a propensity to pair, thereby leading to a molecular character that coexists with the atoms. Remarkably, the addition of this molecular component is found to induce a quantum instability that manifests itself as a collective decay of the assembly as a whole. As a signature of this phenomenon, there arises a complex chemical potential in which the imaginary part quantifies a coherent decay into collective phonon excitations of a collapsing ground state. The unique decay rate dependencies on both the scattering length and the density can be experimentally tested by tuning near a Feshbach resonance. Being a purely quantum mechanical effect, there exists no mechanical picture corresponding to this coherent many-body process. The results presented can serve as a model for other systems with similar underlying physics.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, 2006.This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections."June 2006."Includes bibliographical references (p. 205-209).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Mechanical Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology