VU Physics and Astronomy Homecoming Colloquium

Friday, October 5. Refreshments in NSC Planetarium at 3:05 PM, followed by the *colloquium in 224 at 3:30 PM.

*Please note change in location from the normal room

Ultracold 1D Gases in Optical Lattices

Dr. Aaron Reinhard (VU `03), Department of Physics, Otterbein University


Ultracold atoms, or atoms that have been cooled to nano-Kelvin temperatures, can be precisely controlled and manipulated and promise to offer insights into fundamental problems in physics in the years to come.  Ultracold atoms in optical lattices, or periodic potentials created using laser light, will play a particularly important role in the simulation of unsolved problems in condensed matter physics, as well as the development of quantum computers and ultraprecise sensors.

In this talk, I will review the field of neutral-atom laser cooling and trapping, and I will explain how light may be used to create gases of alkali atoms with nano-Kelvin temperatures.  I will then discuss the properties of ultracold atoms in optical lattices, highlighting how these lattices are created and what current researchers are using them to study.  Finally, I will briefly discuss experiments in which my colleagues and I used ultracold bosons in two-dimensional optical lattices to study the self-trapping of interacting bosons and thermalization in out-of-equilibrium quantum mechanical systems.