5813 Next-Generation Atomtronics

Saturday, February 18, 2012: 3:30 PM
Room 212 (VCC West Building)
Charles W. Clark , Joint Quantum Institute, Gaithersburg, MD
Many applications of materials science depend on multifunctional materials in which control of one physical characteristic induces changes in another, quite different property.  During the past fifteen years or so, a new kind of "materials science" has emerged in the development of ultracold, dilute atomic and molecular gases; the 1997, 2001 and 2005 Nobel Prizes in Physics recognized developments in this area.  "Atomtronics," in which cold atoms carry information through a tenuous medium, in a role analogous to that played by electrons in a solid, offers opportunities beyond those available in conventional multifunctional materials.  This is due to the rich internal state structure of atoms, vs. the two spin states of the electron; to the ability to create nearly ideal potential landscapes that govern atomic motion, particularly through the use of optical lattices; and the possibility of synthesizing gauge potentials, even of non-Abelian varieties.  I will review recent experimental and theoretical work in this fast-moving field, and discuss its future applications to measurement, sensing, and quantum logic.
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