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Optics for the magneto-optical trap

In situ optical lattice

World's first in situ lattice with tunneling and single-site resolutionThe study of optical lattices is one of the most active areas of ultracold atom research.  An optical lattice consists of a standing wave light field which creates a periodic potential for ultracold atoms.  The lattice can be used for simulating condensed matter systems or even gauge theories.  It is also a candidate for quantum computing.  In recent years, it has become possible to study the lattice in situ, where single sites could be observed.

We made the first observation of an optical lattice in situ, with single-site resolution and tunneling between sites.  The optical field was created with our pioneering ultra-high resolution imaging system, the same optical system used to image the lattice.  We found that three-body losses suppressed fluctuations in the number of atoms in each site, thus creating a sub-Poissonian number distribution.

Related publication

Itah, A., Veksler, H., Lahav, O., Blumkin, A., Moreno, C., Gordon, C. & Steinhauer, J.  Direct Observation of a Sub-Poissonian Number Distribution of Atoms in an Optical Lattice.  Phys. Rev. Lett. 104, 113001 (2010).