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November 17, 2017 - 9:00am
Andika Putra
Quantum degenerate gases have provided rich systems to simulate engineered Hamiltonians and to explore quantum many-body problems in laboratory-scale experiments. In this work, we focus our study on spin-orbit-coupled (SOC) Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) of Rubidium-87 atoms realized using two-photon Raman coupling scheme in which various novel phases are predicted to exist due to competing energies from the atomic internal structure, coupling strength, and many-body collisions.
BECs are observed primarily using the interaction between light and matter, where it is common to probe the atoms with near-resonant light and image their shadow on a camera. This absorption imaging technique measures the integrated column density of the atoms where it is crucial to focus the imaging system. I present a systematic method to bring the ultracold atom systems into an optimal focus using power spectral density (PSD) of the atomic density-density correlation function. The spatial frequency at which the defocus-induced artifacts first appear in the PSD is maximized on focus. The focusing process thus identifies the range of spatial frequencies over which the PSD is uncontaminated by finite-thickness effects.
Next, I describe magnetic phases which exist in spin-1 spin-orbit-coupled condensates in a near-zero temperature. We observe ferromagnetic and unmagnetized phases which are stabilized by the locking between the spin and linear momentum of the system. Our measurements of both the first- and second-order transitions are in agreement with theory.
Finally, I discuss the stripe-ordered phase which occurs in SOC Bose gases favoring the miscibility configuration. The stripe phase is theoretically predicted to have excitation spectrum analogous to that of supersolidity and to exhibit spatial density modulation within specific regions of parameter space. We use the optical Bragg scattering to probe any small density modulation present in the atomic spatial distribution. I present for the very first time the observation of the stripe phase in full phase diagrams. Our measurement results of the phase boundaries are consistent with existing theory and all observations to date.
Dissertation Committee Chair:

Prof. Steven Rolston 

Dr. Ian B. Spielman
Dr. Gretchen Campbell
Dr. Frederick Wellstood
Dr. Mohammad Hafezi
Atlantic 2115
College Park, MD 20742