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Quantum Institute : 2006 Quantum Lunch Seminar Archives


  • Coordinator
    Diego Dalvit
  • Quantum Lunch Location:
    T-Division Conference Room, TA-3,
    Building 123, Room 121

Quantum Institute: Visitor Schedule

The Quantum Lunch is regularly held on Thursdays in the Theoretical Division Conference Room, TA-3, Building 123, Room 121.
For more information, contact Diego Dalvit.

April 27 , 2006
12:30 PM

Mark Raizen,
The University of Texas at Austin

Experiments with a "Particle in a Box": Bose Einstein Condensates and Maxwell's Demon


The "particle in a box" is at the heart of quantum mechanics and is a paradigm for many problems in physics. In this talk, I will describe recent experiments conducted by my group which confine a Bose-Einstein condensate to a one-dimensional optical box. These conditions have enabled the experimental realization of atomic number squeezing, toward the production of number states. More generally, we have demonstrated the capability to measure atom statistics by single-atom counting, paving the way for the new field of quantum atom optics.

The concept of a "particle in a box" is also widely used in thermodynamics. The historic paradox of Maxwell's demon suggested a way to cause particles to accumulate in one side of the box, in an apparent violation of the Second Law. Motivated by these ideas we have developed a method to form an optical "one-way" barrier for atoms. This device would allow atoms coming from one side of the barrier to pass through, bu those coming from the other side to be reflected. I will show how this idea can be used for phase space compression and cooling, as an optical realization of Maxwell's demon.

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