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Quantum and Classical Dynamics of a BEC in a Large-Period Optical Lattice

TitleQuantum and Classical Dynamics of a BEC in a Large-Period Optical Lattice
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsJ. H. Huckans, I. B. Spielman, L. B. Tolra, W. D. Phillips, and J. V. Porto
JournalPhysical Review A
Date Publishedjan

We experimentally investigate diffraction of a Rb-87 Bose-Einstein condensate from a 1D optical lattice. We use a range of lattice periods and timescales, including those beyond the Raman-Nath limit. We compare the results to quantum mechanical and classical simulations, with quantitative and qualitative agreement, respectively. The classical simulation predicts that the envelope of the time-evolving diffraction pattern is shaped by caustics: singularities in the phase space density of classical trajectories. This behavior becomes increasingly clear as the lattice period grows.


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