HMC Physics Colloquium

Tuesdays at 16:30 in Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning, Room B460

Dwight L. Whitaker

Pomona College

Captivating and Chilling: An All-Optical Method for Making Bose-Einstein Condensates

Sept. 18, 2007

We have developed a system to create Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) in a time varying optical dipole trap produced by a single focused CO2 laser. Our system can cool up to a million atoms to quantum degeneracy in any hyperfine states. We have also found that our trap provides a temperature stability and precision that is better than any "conventional" BEC system that cools atoms in a magnetic trap. Our unprecedented temperature control will be used probe BECs very near the critical temperature and to gain insight into the nature of quantum phase transitions, which have a number of universal properties and occur in other systems such as superfluid helium and superconductors.