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Nanofabrication and phase imaging with atoms

Assoc. Prof. Rob Scholten

School of Physics, University of Melbourne

3.30pm, Friday 21 February 2003, AR103 Seminar Room, Graduate Research Centre

Using lasers tuned close to an atomic resonance, atomic beams can be focussed to lines and spots just nanometres across. At the University of Melbourne and at TU/e, the Technical University of Eindhoven (Netherlands), we are exploring the possibilities of this technique, e.g. for creating ferromagnetic nanostructures of iron, and the use of computer-generated holograms to generate complex lightfields for arbitrary structures.

Other classical optics effects can be realised with neutral atoms, for example interferometers, which are used to measure phase shifts. We are developing a non-interferometric method for imaging such phase shifts, both the phase shifts induced in the matter-wave field of a beam of atoms, and the phase shifts induced in a laser beam by a sample of trapped atoms. The latter offers good prospects for non-destructive imaging of Bose-Einstein condensates. Future development will extend this phase imaging to complete measurements of the Wigner distribution function, which characterises partially coherent fields and the quantum nature of particle motion and nonclassical lightfields.

I will review some of this work in atom optics and classical optics at Melbourne and at TU/e, and discuss our ongoing collaborative projects.

Back to 2003 programme