"Spin dynamics in an ultracold sodium quantum gas," Tuesday, February 4, 1:30pm, MH 606

Arne Schwettmann, JQI/NIST/University of Maryland

Ultracold atomic gases provide a fascinating window into the quantum world, presenting us with macroscopic quantum objects to probe and investigate. In this talk, I will first discuss the experimental techniques we use to cool a cloud of sodium atoms in an optical trap to nanokelvin temperatures, at which point it forms a giant matter wave known as spinor Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC). Compared to a scalar BEC, where only one atomic spin state is present, the spinor BEC has the advantage that all atomic spin states are trapped and overlapping. This allows us to investigate the population oscillations driven by coherent spin-changing collisions. I will then present our recent observation of such spin dynamics in the thermal sodium gas, as well as discuss our progress towards implementing a matter-wave interferometer and phase-sensitive matter-wave amplifier in this system.