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Title: Symmetry and transport in cold atom ratchets
Author: Gommers, Ralf
ISNI:       0000 0004 2674 6855
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2007
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Ratchets are devices that operate away from thermal equilibrium and can rectify zero-mean perturbations to achieve directed transport. We implement a ratchet system by using cold atoms in a driven optical lattice. This ratchet system can be precisely controlled experimentally, by adjusting either the driving parameters or the characteristics of the optical lattice. Directed transport in our ratchet is caused by rectification of either the driving force or fluctuations. We demonstrate under which conditions these types of rectification occur. Rectification of the driving force is a deterministic process, while rectification of fluctuations implies that the atoms act as Brownian motors. We show that resonant activation is the underlying mechanism of operation of these Brownian motors. The ratchet transport is controlled by symmetries of the system. The temporal symmetry of the system is normally broken by a time- asymmetric driving force. Here we show that for a system with symmetric driving and a symmetric potential, directed transport can also be caused by dissipation-induced breaking of time-reversal symmetry. This happens in the limit of small driving amplitude and large dissipation. We also study quasiperiodic driving of a cold atom ratchet and examine the relationship between symmetries and transport in this case. When mapping the route to quasiperiodicity we find a characteristic peak spectrum with transport occurring for certain ratios of frequencies. We characterize these peaks spectroscopically, and conclude that their shape is determined by the duration of driving. Finally, we investigate the coherency of transport with quasiperiodic driving and find large coherencies for certain driving parameters.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available