Bose–Einstein condensation of atomic gases

Abstract

The early experiments on Bose–Einstein condensation in dilute atomic gases accomplished three long-standing goals. First, cooling of neutral atoms into their motional ground state, thus subjecting them to ultimate control, limited only by Heisenberg's uncertainty relation. Second, creation of a coherent sample of atoms, in which all occupy the same quantum state, and the realization of atom lasers — devices that output coherent matter waves. And third, creation of a gaseous quantum fluid, with properties that are different from the quantum liquids helium-3 and helium-4. The field of Bose–Einstein condensation of atomic gases has continued to progress rapidly, driven by the combination of new experimental techniques and theoretical advances. The family of quantum-degenerate gases has grown, and now includes metastable and fermionic atoms. Condensates have become an ultralow-temperature laboratory for atom optics, collisional physics and many-body physics, encompassing phonons, superfluidity, quantized vortices, Josephson junctions and quantum phase transitions.

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Figure 1: Atom chip.
Figure 2: Demonstration of Fermi pressure25.
Figure 3: Explosion of a condensate with attractive interactions55.
Figure 4: Signature of superfluidity in a Bose-condensed cloud63.
Figure 5: Vortex lattices in rotating BECs69.
Figure 6: Vortex generation.
Figure 7: Visualization of vortex lines in a trapped condensate.
Figure 8: Mott insulator and superfluid phases coexisting in a BEC in a magnetic trap with a superimposed optical lattice98.
Figure 9: Experimental observation of the quantum phase transition from a superfluid to a Mott insulator in a Rb BEC99.

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Acknowledgements

We are indebted to the whole BEC group at MIT for discussions. Our work is supported by NSF, ONR, ARO, NASA, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

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Anglin, J., Ketterle, W. Bose–Einstein condensation of atomic gases. Nature 416, 211–218 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1038/416211a

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