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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Quantum Simulation of Strongly-Driven Systems Using Ultracold Lithium and Strontium

  • Author(s): Senaratne, Ruwan
  • Advisor(s): Weld, David
  • et al.

Weakly-interacting atoms in a Bose-Einstein condensate coherently occupy the ground-state of their container. This phenomenon, coupled with the technical ability to produce precise, isolated and dynamically-tunable trapping potentials, makes ultracold atoms a versatile platform for simulating quantum mechanical systems. This thesis details the construction of two apparatus at the University of California, Santa Barbara for the production of Bose-Einstein condensates of lithium and strontium atoms respectively. Results of the first experiment performed on the strontium apparatus, a quantum simulation of ultrafast dynamics, are presented. In this experiment, driven cold atoms simulate ultrafast ionization dynamics in attosecond laser pulses, counter-intuitively emulating some of the fastest processes in atomic physics with some of the slowest. A sequence of experiments which demonstrate the correspondence with ultrafast science are described, including the direct observation of carrier-envelope-phase dependent sub-cycle unbinding dynamics. Preliminary results from a second experiment, studying phasonic excitations in a quasiperiodic lattice, are also discussed.

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