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Towards atom interferometry with bright solitary matter waves

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Giovanni Barontini.

Performing interferometry with atoms instead of light holds great promise as the basis for a new generation of sensors. Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) are excellent candidates for atom interferometry due to their wave-like nature, superfluid properties, and the ability to manipulate them coherently. Many interferometry protocols have been proposed theoretically, and there is presently much experimental effort in implementing novel interferometry schemes, as well as miniaturising atom interferometers for practical use as sensing devices. One such scheme makes use of bright solitary matter waves, or solitons, formed by manipulating interatomic interactions in BECs to create long-lived compact matter wavepackets. Solitons can propagate macroscopic distances without dispersion, making them ideal candidates for use in a number of interferometer geometries. A crucial component of any interferometer is a coherent beam splitter. For solitons, a beam splitter can be formed by a narrow repulsive barrier, where a soliton incident on the barrier is split into two. After allowing the two daughter solitons to oscillate in a weak harmonic potential, the solitons “recombine” on the same barrier. In the appropriate regime, the recombination is coherent, with any phase accumulation along one path resulting in a population difference in each path after recombination. In practice, there are other factors that influence the outcome. In this talk, I will discuss our efforts to implement a proof-of-principle atom interferometer using bright solitary matter waves and the experimental challenges involved.

This talk is part of the Cold atoms series.

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