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Atomic Physics: Precise Measurements and Ultracold Matter$
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Massimo Inguscio and Leonardo Fallani

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780198525844

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198525844.001.0001

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Optical lattices and precise measurements

Optical lattices and precise measurements

(p.194) 6 Optical lattices and precise measurements
Atomic Physics: Precise Measurements and Ultracold Matter

Massimo Inguscio

Leonardo Fallani

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the physics of ultracold atoms trapped in optical lattices, i.e., ordered arrays of microscopic traps produced by the interference of counterpropagating laser beams. The motion of the atoms in these ‘crystals of light’ can be described in terms of a periodic potential, similar to the one experienced by the electrons of an ideal crystalline solid. The chapter focuses on the physics of quantum transport in optical lattices, which both provides a testing ground for ideal solid-state physics and constitutes an important resource for the determination of fundamental constants (e.g., the fine structure constant) and for the use of ultracold atoms as very precise sensors of forces (e.g., gravity).

Keywords:   optical lattices, periodic potential, energy bands, quantum transport, ultracold atoms, laser beams, crystalline solid

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