MAGNETIZED PLANE WAVE AND STRIPE-ORDERED PHASES IN SPIN-ORBIT-COUPLED BOSE GASES
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Quantum degenerate gases have provided rich systems to simulate engineered Hamiltonians and to explore quantum many-body problems in laboratory-scale experiments. In this work, I focus on spin-orbit-coupled (SOC) Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) of Rubidium-87 atoms realized using two-photon Raman coupling in which various novel phases are predicted to exist due to competing energies from the atomic internal structure, coupling strength, and many-body collisions. BECs are observed primarily using the interaction between light and matter, where it is common to probe the atoms with near-resonant light and image their shadow on a camera. This absorption imaging technique measures the integrated column density of the atoms and it is crucial to focus the imaging system. I present a systematic method to bring the ultracold atom systems into an optimal focus using the power spectral density (PSD) of the atomic density-density correlation function. The spatial frequency at which the defocus-induced artifacts first appear in the PSD is maximized at the focus. The focusing process thus identifies the range of spatial frequencies over which the PSD is uncontaminated by finite-thickness effects. Next, I describe magnetic phases which exist in spin-1 spin-orbit-coupled condensates at a near-zero temperature. I observe ferromagnetic and unmagnetized phases which are stabilized by the locking between the spin and linear momentum of the system. Our measurements of both the first- and second-order transitions are in agreement with theory. Finally, I discuss the stripe-ordered phase that occurs in SOC Bose gases favoring the miscibility configuration. The stripe phase is theoretically predicted to have an excitation spectrum analogous to that of a supersolid and to exhibit spatial density modulation within specific regions of parameter space. I used optical Bragg scattering to probe the small density modulation present in the atomic spatial distribution. I present for the very first time observation of the stripe phase in a Raman SOC Bose gas and its phase diagram in various parameter space. Our observations of the phase boundaries are consistent with theory and previous work.