Thermalisation, correlations and entanglement in Bose-Einstein condensates

Andrew James Ferris (2009). Thermalisation, correlations and entanglement in Bose-Einstein condensates PhD Thesis, School of Mathematics & Physics, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Andrew James Ferris
Thesis Title Thermalisation, correlations and entanglement in Bose-Einstein condensates
School, Centre or Institute School of Mathematics & Physics
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2009-03
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Matthew J. Davis
Murray K. Olsen
Ashton S. Bradley
Total pages 210
Total colour pages 26
Total black and white pages 184
Subjects 240000 Physical Sciences
Abstract/Summary This thesis investigates thermalisation, correlations and entanglement in Bose-Einstein condensates. Bose-Einstein condensates are ultra-cold collections of identical bosonic atoms which accumulate in a single quantum state, forming a mesoscopic quantum object. They are clean and controllable quantum many-body systems that permit an unprecedented degree of experimental flexibility compared to other physical systems. Further, a tractable microscopic theory exists which allows a direct and powerful comparison between theory and experiment, propelling the field of quantum atom optics forward at an incredible pace. Here we explore some of the fundamental frontiers of the field, examining how non-classical correlations and entanglement can be created and measured, as well as how non-classical effects can lead to the rapid heating of atom clouds. We first investigate correlations between two weakly coupled condensates, a system analogous to a superconducting Josephson junction. The ground state of this system contains non-classical number correlation arising from the repulsion between the atoms. Such states are of interest because they may lead to more precise measurement devices such as atomic gyroscopes. Unfortunately thermal fluctuations can destroy these correlations, and great care is needed to experimentally observe non-classical effects. We show that adiabatic evolution can drive the isolated quantum system out of thermal equilibrium and decrease thermal noise, in agreement with a recent experiment [Esteve et al. Nature 455, 1216 (2008)]. This technique may be valuable for observing and using quantum correlated states in the future. Next, we analyse the rapid heating that occurs when a condensate is placed in a moving periodic potential. The dynamical instability responsible for the heating was the subject of much uncertainty, which we suggest was due to the inability of the mean-field approximation to account for important spontaneous scattering processes. We show that a model including non-classical spontaneous scattering can describe dynamical instabilities correctly in each of the regimes where they have been observed, and in particular we compare our simulations to an experiment performed at the University of Otago deep inside the spontaneous scattering regime. Finally, we proposed a method to create and detect entangled atomic wave-packets. Entangled atoms are interesting from a fundamental perspective, and may prove useful in future quantum information and precision measurement technologies. Entanglement is generated by interactions, such as atomic collisions in Bose-Einstein condensates. We analyse the type of entanglement generated via atomic collisions and introduce an abstract scheme for detecting entanglement and demonstrating the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox with ultra-cold atoms. We further this result by proposing an experiment where entangled wave-packets are created and detected. The entanglement is generated by the pairwise scattering that causes the instabilities in moving periodic potentials mentioned above. By careful arrangement, the instability process can be controlled to to produce two well-defined atomic wave-packets. The presence of entanglement can be proven by applying a series of laser pulses to interfere the wave-packets and then measuring the output populations. Realising this experiment is feasible with current technology.
Keyword Bose-Einstein condensate
quantum mechanics
thermalisation
entanglement
ultracold atoms
correlations
squeezing
Additional Notes Colour pages are: 1, 45, 52, 54, 57, 82, 104, 113, 115, 117, 124, 130, 134, 137, 138, 139, 140, 145, 146, 161, 166, 167, 184, 186, 188, 189.

 
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Created: Tue, 11 Aug 2009, 12:50:29 EST by Mr Andrew Ferris on behalf of Library - Information Access Service