Radiofrequency-dressed-state potentials for neutral atoms


Potentials for atoms can be created by external fields acting on properties such as magnetic moment, charge, polarizability, or by oscillating fields that couple internal states. The most prominent realization of the latter is the optical dipole potential formed by coupling ground and electronically excited states of an atom with light. Here, we present an extensive experimental analysis of potentials derived from radiofrequency (RF) coupling of electronic ground states. The coupling is magnetic and the vector character allows the design of versatile microscopic state-dependent potential landscapes. Compared with standard magnetic trapping, we find no additional heating or (collisional) loss up to densities of 1015 atoms cm−3. We demonstrate robust evaporative cooling in RF potentials, which allows easy production of Bose–Einstein condensates in complex potentials. Altogether, this makes RF dressing a new powerful tool for manipulating ultracold atoms complementary to magnetic trapping and optical dipole potentials.

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Figure 1: Atom-chip setup for RF potentials.
Figure 2: Orientation of the double-well potential as a function of the plane of polarization in the case of a linearly polarized RF field.
Figure 3: State-dependent potentials for Rb in the F=2,mF=2 state created with (nearly) circularly polarized RF fields.
Figure 4: Comparing double-well potentials created with static fields and RF dressing based on the same structure size and distance to the chip.
Figure 5: Comparison of independent and coherently split BECs.


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We would like to thank Thorsten Schumm for stimulating discussions and we are grateful to Peter Krüger for critical reading of the manuscript. The atom chip used in this experiment was fabricated at the Weizman Institut of Science by S. Groth. We acknowledge financial support from the European Union, through the contracts IST-2001-38863 (ACQP), MRTN-CT-2003-505032 (Atom Chips), Integrated Project FET/QIPC ‘SCALA’, and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, contract number SCHM 1599/1-1. I.L. acknowledges support from the European Community and its 6th Community Frame (program of Scholarships of Distinction ‘Marie Curie’).

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Correspondence to S. Hofferberth or J. Schmiedmayer.

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Hofferberth, S., Lesanovsky, I., Fischer, B. et al. Radiofrequency-dressed-state potentials for neutral atoms. Nature Phys 2, 710–716 (2006).

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