Date of Award

Winter 12-1-2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Physics

First Advisor

Deborah S Jin

Second Advisor

Eric A Cornell

Third Advisor

Jun Ye

Abstract

A dilute gas Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) near a Feshbach resonance offers a system that can be tuned from the well-understood regime of weak interactions to the complex regime of strong interactions. Strong interactions play a central role in the phenomena of superfluidity in liquid He, and theoretical treatments for this regime have existed since the 1950’s. However, these theories have not been experimentally tested as superfluid He offers no similar mechanism with which to tune the interactions. In dilute gas condensates near a Feshbach resonance, where interactions can be tuned, strong interactions have proven difficult to study due to the condensate’s metastable nature with respect to the formation of weakly bound molecules. In this thesis, I introduce an experimental system and novel probes of the gas that have been specifically designed to study strongly interacting BECs. I present Bragg spectroscopy measurements that have accessed this regime, as well as proof-of-principle experiments using photon-counting for Bragg spectroscopy at low-momentum. Finally, I show preliminary data using contact spectroscopy, which is a method that could lead to the first measurements of the predicted interaction energies for a dilute Bose gas of atoms in the strongly interacting regime.

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Physics Commons

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