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Experimental Platform for a Box-Trapped Dipolar Quantum Gas



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Krstajić, Milan 


This thesis describes the design and building of an experimental platform for investigating many-body physics in homogeneous dipolar quantum gases of erbium. The interest in such systems lies in a multitude of quantum phenomena that stem from dipole-dipole interactions, particularly their long-range and anisotropic nature. Consequentially, dipolar quantum gases make up an increasingly popular branch within an already thriving field of ultracold quantum gases. The thesis details the design, construction and testing of the experimental setup, including the vacuum chamber, optical and laser systems, magnetic fields and supporting control and data acquisition systems. I present results describing both the progress towards reaching the goal of an erbium Bose-Einstein condensate in an optical box potential as well as the difficulties encountered along the way. At present, the experiment is capable of producing clouds with 100 million atoms at the temperature of 15 microkelvin in the magneto-optical trap, which translates into about 15 million atoms at 50 microkelvin following transfer into an optical dipole trap. I detail the remaining steps to complete the intended goal and present an overview of some of the research topics our platform will make accessible, including roton physics, out-of-equilibrium many-body phenomena and dynamics of phase transitions in systems with long-range interactions. I also briefly touch upon the subject of expanding the apparatus to a dual species experiment with potassium, which will enable investigating systems with impurities. Finally, these discussions are augmented with results from numerical simulations on the stability of a dipolar quantum gas in a general power-law trap (of which the optical box is an example), that are likely to help with planning future experiments.





Smith, Robert


Quantum Gases, Bose-Einstein Condensate, Ultracold Atoms, Dipolar Quantum Gases, Many-Body Quantum Physics


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge
Trinity College, Cambridge