Engineered potentials in ultracold Bose-Einstein condensates
Campbell, Daniel Lawrence
Spielman, Ian B
Rolston, Steven L
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Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) are a recent addition to the portfolio of quantum materials some of which have profound commercial and military applications e.g., superconductors, superfluids and light emitting diodes. BECs exist in the lowest motional modes of a trap and have the lowest temperatures achieved by mankind. With full control over the shape of the trap the experimentalist may explore an extremely diverse set of Hamiltonians which may be altered mid-experiment. These properties are particularly suited for realizing novel quantum systems. This thesis explores interaction-driven domain formation and the subsequent domain coarsening for two immiscible BEC components. Because quantum coherences associated with interactions in BECs can be derived from low energy scattering theory we compare our experimental results to both a careful simulation (performed by Brandon Anderson) and an analytical prediction. This result very carefully explores the question of how a metastable system relaxes at the extreme limit of low temperature. We also explore spin-orbit coupling (SOC) of a BEC which links the linear and discrete momentum transferable by two counterpropagating ``Raman'' lasers that resonantly couple the ground electronic states of our BECs. SOC is used similarly in condensed matter systems to describe coupling between charge carrier spin and crystal momentum and is a necessary component of the quantum spin Hall effect and topological insulators. SOC links the linear and discrete momentum transferable by two counterpropagating ``Raman'' lasers and a subset of the ground electronic states of our BEC. The phases of an effective 2-spin component spin-orbit coupling (SOC) in a spin-1 BEC are described in Lin et al. (2011). We measure the phase transition between two phases of a spin-1 BEC with SOC which cannot be mimicked by a spin-1/2 system. The order parameter that describes transitions between these two phases is insensitive to magnetic field fluctuations. I also describe a realistic implementation of Rashba SOC. This type of SOC is expected to exhibit novel many-body phases [Stanescu et al. 2008, Sedrakyan et al. 2012, Hu et al. 2011].