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ics Colloquium
Friday, September 2, 2011
4:00 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Note special time.
Cheng Chin [Host: Seunghun Lee]
University of Chicago
"Having your cake and seeing it too: In Situ Observation of Incompressible Mott Domains in Ultracold Atomic Gases"
 Slideshow (PDF)
Atoms at ultralow temperatures are fascinating quantum objects, which can tunnel through barriers, repel or attract each other, and interfere like electromagnetic waves. This wavy behavior of ultracold atoms evidently illustrates the particle-wave duality as discussed in modern physics. By loading repulsively interacting atoms into a regular array of tiny optical cells (called optical lattices), we show that the wavy nature of the atoms can be completely destroyed. At the same time, the gaseous sample develops an interesting multi-layer structure with quantize density plateaus, resembling a multi-tier wedding cake. Our observation of the cake structure in ultracold gases of atoms [1] raises new prospects to investigate the dynamics and transport across a phase boundary [2] and to identify universal critical behavior in the transition regime [3]. Surprising findings along these directions will be reported.

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