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Ultracold Gas Theory from the Top-Down and Bottom-Up

TitleUltracold Gas Theory from the Top-Down and Bottom-Up
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsColussi, VE
Academic DepartmentPhysics
Number of Pages236
Date Published1-2017
UniversityUniversity of Colorado
CityBoulder, CO

Advances in trapping and cooling of ultracold gases over the last several decades have made it possible to test many formerly outstanding predictions from disparate branches of physics. This thesis touches on three historical problems that have found new life recently in the context of ultracold Bose gases of alkali atoms. The first problem revolves around an outstanding prediction from Boltzmann over a century and half old that the breathing mode of a isotropically trapped classical gas should oscillate indefinitely. I analyze recent experimental results [Nat. Phys. 11,1009 (2015)], and attribute observed damping sources to trap imperfections. The second question is about the analogue of first and second sound modes from liquid helium in trapped dilute gases. I present the results of a joint theoretical/experimental investigation of the breathing mode of a finite temperature Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC), attributing a striking collapse revival behavior of the resultant oscillation to in-phase and out-of-phase normal modes of the thermal cloud and condensate. The third problem is that of the formation of Borromean ring-like three-body bound states, referred to as Efimov trimers, in strongly interacting few-body systems. I extend the predicted spectrum of Efimov states into the realm of many degenerate internal levels, and investigate the difficult three-body elastic scattering problem.

These questions are part of the broader theme of this thesis: How can our understanding of few-body physics in the ultracold limit be translated into statements about the bulk behavior of an ultracold gas? For weakly interacting Bose gases, this translation is well-known: the many-body properties of the gas are well-described by the tracking of just the one and two particle correlations. I analyze a generalization of this procedure to higher order correlations, the general connection between few-body physics and correlations in a dilute gas, and results for the emergence of Efimov physics in the magnetic phase of the strongly-interacting Bose gas.