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Spin orbit coupled atomic gases

Event Details

Event Dates: 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - 4:00pm

Seminar Location: 

  • JILA Auditorium

Speaker Name(s): 

Ian Spielman

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

Joint Quantum Institute, National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Maryland
Seminar Type/Subject

Scientific Seminar Type: 

  • JILA Colloquium

Event Details & Abstract: 

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.  These fields can depend on internal — spin — degrees of freedom, and in material systems these spin-dependent gauge fields are often manifest as spin-orbit coupling (SOC, but more correctly spin-crystal momentum coupling).

Here I present our experimental work synthesizing SOC for ultracold neutral atoms.  I will first show how we use the light-matter interaction to engineer gauge terms in the atomic Hamiltonian, and then how to make these depend on spin.  Using such techniques, we created SOC in a pseudo-spin 1/2 Bose gas and observed a previously unexpected quantum phase transition.  I will conclude by showing the observed phase diagram of a spin-1 spin-orbit coupled Bose gas: a context without analog in traditional condensed matter systems.