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Optical lattices of quantum degenerate strontium gases

Grant number: 10/18897-9
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2011
Effective date (End): July 31, 2012
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Physics - Atomic and Molecular Physics
Principal Investigator:Philippe Wilhelm Courteille
Grantee:Helmar Bender
Host Institution: Instituto de Física de São Carlos (IFSC). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:98/14270-8 - Center for Optical and Photonics Science, AP.CEPID


Strontium is one of the most interesting atomic species for of cold quantum gases due to the existence of narrow cooling transitions and ultranarrow clock transitions. For example, magneto-optical traps (MOT) operated on narrow optical transitions are free from problems related to radiation trapping. The very high densities obtained in strontium MOTs motivate searches for Anderson localization of light. Furthermore, the ultranarrow transitions make strontium a hot candidate for the next generation of atomic clocks at optical frequencies. Recent ideas propose to confine strontium in optical lattices, where the calamitous impact of collisions can be avoided. Another reason for the interest in strontium is the existence of several stable fermionic and bosonic isotopes, some of which have already been cooled down to quantum degeneracy. Last not least, strontium is a favorite for the realization of exotic optical lattices, such as diamond-shaped lattices, which are characterized by the existence of omnidirectional photonic band gaps.The latter feature is the starting point of a new experiment to be set up at the Instituto de Física de São Carlos da USP. The goal of the experiment is the creation of an optical lattice uniformly filled with an ultracold strontium gas and the study of its photonic band gap structure. It is worth noting that, despite the fundamental importance of the area of optical lattices, these have not yet been implemented in Brasil.The design and the realization of the apparatus will be, under my supervision, the task of Dr. Helmar Bender. He will also calculate the photonic band structure of various types of lattices and assist in the supervision and guidance of a PhD student and master students involved with this experiment.Helmar Bender, who is currently accomplishing his PhD at the university of Tübingen, is highly interested in this task. During his thesis senhor Bender set up a experiment studying Casimir-Polder forces exerted by a solid surface on free atoms using rubidium Bose-Einstein condensates as a probe. He gained considerable experience in how to conceive, plan and realize high-level atom optical experiments. His participation will be of crucial importance for a fast progress of the project. (AU)

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