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Title: Formation of bright solitary matter-waves
Author: Marchant, Anna Louise
ISNI:       0000 0004 2734 8146
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis presents the development of an experimental apparatus to produce Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) with tunable interparticle interactions. The ability to precisely control the strength of these interactions, and even to switch them from repulsive to attractive, allows one to probe novel regimes of condensate physics, from the collapse of attractively interacting BECs and the formation of solitary matter-waves to the observation of beyond mean-field effects in strongly repulsive condensates. The construction and characterisation of both a single and crossed beam optical dipole trap is presented. In the single beam case we develop a technique allowing the guided transport of atoms along the beam and up to a room-temperature surface; a technique which can be used to evaporatively cool the trapped atomic cloud. We produce Bose-Einstein condensates of 87Rb in the F=1, mF=-1 state in this trap, comparing the effect of beam waist on the evaporation trajectory. In the crossed beam trap Bose-Einstein condensation of 87Rb is realised in three distinct trapping configurations, along with a 1D optical lattice formed by changing the polarisation of the beams. A method of direct cooling of 85Rb atoms in the crossed trap is developed using a magnetic Feshbach resonance to precisely tune both the elastic and inelastic scattering properties of the atoms. The resonance used for this work occurs at 155G in collisions between atoms in the F=2, mF=-2 state of 85Rb. Bose-Einstein condensates of up to 40,000 85Rb atoms are formed in this trap and we demonstrate the presence of tunable interatomic interactions, exploring the collapse phenomenon associated with attractive condensates. By loading the 85Rb condensate into a quasi-1D waveguide we show that stable attractive condensates can be created, taking the form of bright solitary matter-waves. We observe a solitary wave of ~2,000 atoms which propagates, without dispersion, along the waveguide over a distance of ~1.1mm. The particle-like nature of the solitary wave is demonstrated by classical reflection of the wavepacket from a repulsive Gaussian barrier.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available