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Anderson Localization of Matter-Waves
in a Controlled Disorder: a Quantum

Prof. Alain Aspect

Institut d’Optique,Campus Polytechnique, Palaiseau, France

11:00 am, Wednesday 10 December 2008, EN101, Ground Floor, Engineering Building, Hawthorn.

In 1958, P.W. Anderson predicted the localization of electronic wave functions in disordered crystals, and the resulting absence of diffusion. It has been realized later that Anderson Localization is ubiquitous in wave physics as it originates from the interference between multiple scattering paths, and this has prompted an intense activity to observe it with light waves, microwaves, sound waves, and electron gases, but to our knowledge there was no direct observation of exponential spatial localization of matter-waves (electrons or others).
We have observed directly exponential localization of the wave function of ultracold atoms released into a one-dimensional waveguide in the presence of a controlled disorder created by laser speckle. We will present this work, and the prospects of extending that type of study to quantum gases in higher dimensions (2D and 3D) and with controlled interactions. We will also discuss its significance in the rapidly growing domain of quantum simulators to study difficult problems of Condensed Matter.

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