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Interfering Atom Lasers

Dr. Chris Vale

Department of Physics, University of Queensland

Friday 17th March 2006, 3.30PM, Seminar Room AR103, Graduate Research Centre.

I will describe experiments on the outcoupling of atoms from a Bose-Einstein condensate using two radio frequency (rf) fields. The two outcoupled matter waves (atom laser beams) interfere as they fall under gravity. We show that the fringe spacing of the resulting interference pattern derives entirely from the energy difference between the two rf fields which is not, in general, equal to the gravitational potential difference between the two outcoupling heights. We also demonstrate that the phase and polarisation of the rf fields controls the phase of the matter wave interference pattern and provide a semiclassical interpretation of these results.

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