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Creating, imaging, and exploiting collective excitations of a multicomponent Bose-Einstein condensate


Ultracold atomic gas systems provide a remarkably versatile platform for studying a wide range of physical phenomena, from analogue particle physics and gravity, to the emergence of subtle and profound order in many body and condensed matter systems. In addition, ultracold atomic gas systems can be used to perform a range of precision measurements, from time keeping to variations in the fine structure constant. In this dissertation, I describe our efforts to build a new apparatus capable testing a range of techniques for performing precision measurements in a magnetic storage ring for cold, possibly Bose-condensed, lithium and rubidium atoms. Next, I briefly touch upon our explorations of spin vortices in a ferromagnetic rubidium Bose-Einstein condensate before presenting an exhaustive account of our work using free-particle-like magnon excitations of the ferromagnetic gas to cool it and measure its temperature in a never-before-seen regime of low entropy. Using magnons as a thermometer, we measure temperatures as low as one nanokelvin in gases with an entropy per particle of about one thousandth of the Boltzmann constant, 0.001 k_B. I conclude by presenting the details of our procedure for calculating the entropy of our coldest, lowest entropy gases in the regime where the local density approximation does not apply.

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