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Physics and Astronomy

Physics & Astronomy Colloquium

3:30 PM, Friday, April 12, 2013
Room 155, Chem-Phys Building

Dr. Ian Spielman

Gauge fields with cold atoms

Gauge fields are ubiquitous in Physics. For example, in the context of high energy physics, they are the fundamental carrier of forces; while in condensed matter systems the associated physical fields (electrical and magnetic) are essential in creating and understanding many-body phenomena. Here I present our experimental work synthesizing static gauge fields for ultracold neutral atoms (bosonic and fermionic alkali atoms), analogous to applied fields in condensed matter systems. I will discuss these static gauge fields in the language of spin-orbit coupling where it consists of an equal sum of Rashba and Dresselhaus couplings. In experiment, we couple two internal states of our alkali atoms with a pair of ``Raman'' lasers and load our degenerate quantum gas into the resulting adiabatic eigenstates. For a Bose gas, a function of the Raman laser strength, a new exchange-driven interaction between the two dressed spins develops, which drives a (quantum) phase transition from a state where the two dressed spin states spatially mix, to one where they phase separate. Going beyond this simple modification to the spin-dependent interaction, we show that in the limit of large laser intensity, the particles act as free atoms, but interact with contributions from higher even partial waves.

Refreshments will be served in CP 179 at 3:15 PM