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Bose-Einstein Condensation Experiments in a Dilute Vapor of Rubidium

TitleBose-Einstein Condensation Experiments in a Dilute Vapor of Rubidium
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication1997
AuthorsMyatt, CJ
Abstract

Over 70 years ago, Einstein predicted, based on the statistical arguments of Bose, that a dilute gas of integer spin particles exhibits a fundamentally quantum mechanical phase transition at low temperatures, the Bose-Einstein condensation (BEC). Only in the last two years has this novel state of matter been created in dilute atomic systems, in direct correspondence to Einstein's orginal conjecture. We achieved BEC in a novel double MOT apparatus. This apparatus allows us to condense more than 106 atoms into the ground state of the system. We have observed BEC in two different spin states of 87Rb. We have studied the heating and loss mechanisms in our magnetic trap. These are parts of an ongoing effort to study how quantum statistics affect the loss processes. We discovered an unexpected suppression of spin exchange collisions between ultra-cold 87Rb atoms. We then demonstrated sympathetic cooling of neutral atoms for the first time, and used this technique to produce two interacting concensates in two different spin states.