Bose Gases in Tailored Optical and Atomic Lattices

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Authors
Gadway, Bryce Russell
Issue Date
1-Aug-12
Type
Dissertation
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en_US
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Abstract
Quantum degenerate atomic gases offer a unique platform for the exploration of a wide variety of interacting many-body systems in a pristine environment, based on a set of powerful tools for the coherent control of the atoms' internal and external degrees of freedom. Here, we present experimental studies of strongly interacting bosonic mixtures in one-dimensional (1D) systems, in which the mobilities of the two species are independently controlled with a state-selective optical lattice. In a first experiment, we freeze out the tunneling of one species from a binary mixture, and study the formation of ``quantum emulsion'' states, where immobile atoms serve as a static, random disorder for a more mobile species. We investigate the 1D superfluid-to-insulator transition in the presence of this disorder, and make comparisons to the effects of quasi-disorder from an incommensurate optical lattice. We observe enhanced localization in the more random potential, highlighting the important role of correlations in disordered systems. Through a combined measurement of transport, localization, and excitation spectra, we are able to obtain strong evidence for observation of a disordered, insulating quantum phase, the 1D Bose glass. In a second experiment, we introduce a new experimental technique for the characterization of ultracold gases held in optical lattices. In analogy to neutron diffraction from solids, we use atomic de Broglie waves to non-destructively probe the spatial structure of 1D Mott insulators through elastic Bragg diffraction, and to probe inelastic band-structure excitations of more weakly interacting 1D Bose gases. Furthermore, we use the diffraction of matter waves to detect the formation of forced-antiferromagnetic ordering in a crystalline atomic spin mixture. Lastly, we study the dynamical response of matter waves to a periodically pulsed, incommensurate optical lattice, a situation that realizes a system of two coupled kicked quantum rotors. We observe that the coupling induces a suppression of energy growth at quantum resonances, and a localization-to-delocalization transition in momentum space for off-resonant driving. Our observations confirm a long-standing theoretical prediction for the two-rotor system, and illustrate how classical behavior can emerge from the evolution of a simple quantum system.
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193 pg.
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The Graduate School, Stony Brook University: Stony Brook, NY.
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