Date of Graduation

Spring 5-2014

Level of Access

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Department or Program

Physics and Astronomy

Number of Pages

59

First Advisor

Lundblad, Nathan

Abstract

In recent years, ultracold atomic gases have been used as tools to study strongly-correlated systems reminiscent of interesting systems from solid-state physics. At temperatures just above absolute zero, particles with integer quantum spin ("bosons") begin to congregate in the ground state of the trapping potential. As the temperature of the system falls below a critical temperature Tc (in this experiment near 200 nK) it undergoes a phase transition called Bose-Einstein condensation. A Bose-Einstein condensate is often described as a macroscopic quantum body, and due to its phase coherence (analogous to an "atom laser") can be used to simulate solid-state systems in a periodic potential called an optical lattice, which resembles that experienced by electrons in the periodic Coulomb potential of a solid-state crystal lattice. These optical lattices are formed by the interference pattern of multiple laser beams, and the associated spatially-dependent Stark shift, resulting in trapping potential for the BEC. The lattice analogs of simple atomic structures have been widely studied. In this thesis, we study the possibility of loading a BEC into multi-dimensional optical lattices. The crystallography of four-beam three-dimensional optical lattices is investigated, and an apparatus is constructed to produce two- to four-beam lattice geometries. We study the structure of the lattice through the technique of Kapitza-Dirac scattering.

Components of Thesis

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