Light-matter interactions for quantum simulation and quantum memory experiments

  • Author / Creator
    Rastogi, Anindya
  • The tools of atomic physics enable researchers to explore rich quantum mechanical phenomena by way of light-matter interactions. In some applications, light is used to manipulate or modify the properties of a material medium, for instance, laser-cooling and optical trapping of neutral atoms and ions; electromagnetically-induced-transparency (EIT); and Bose- Einstein-Condensation (BEC). Likewise, there are applications where matter is used to manipulate the properties of light, as for example, non-linear optical processes; atomic quantum memories; and quantum-information-processing. This thesis explores two routes towards manipulating light using matter and vice versa in our lab. The work presented in this thesis falls under two categories, one is the experimental side where we have designed and built a laser system to cool a thermal gas of 39K atoms to sub-Doppler temperatures, using the ‘Gray Molasses’ technique. This work is motivated by the long term goal of performing quantum simulation experiments with degenerate quantum gas of K. The second category is on the theoretical (numerical) side, where we introduce a novel quantum memory protocol for coherent storage and processing of broadband light pulses, based on a fundamental physical process in atomic physics, called the ‘Autler-Townes’ effect. Ultracold quantum gases are one of the most versatile systems in the field of cold atom physics; these atomic systems can be experimentally controlled and manipulated with high degree of precision and are thus, widely used to model the behavior of other complex quantum mechanical systems. Laser cooling is the first and indeed a crucial stage towards creating an ultracold gas of atoms. In this thesis, we describe an optical setup for producing a laser-cooled and trapped gas of bosonic 39K atoms, using D1 and D2 atomic transition-lines. The optical setup is built to generate appropriate laser frequencies for implementing various stages of the experiment: red- detuned two and three-dimensional magneto-optical traps (MOT) on the D2-line; a blue-detuned gray molasses phase on the D1-line; as well as optical pumping, imaging and push beams on the D2-line. We also highlight the underlying physics behind the blue-detuned gray molasses cooling and the advantages it offers in cooling species like K and Li. We also discuss in detail, the techniques used for frequency locking our lasers, namely, saturated absorption spectroscopy (SAS) and beatnote locking. The second part of the thesis describes a new atomic quantum-memory scheme for storing broadband pulses of light, which we call the ‘Autler- Townes Splitting (ATS)’ protocol. We show the light storage and retrieval operation in three different configurations, via numerical simulation of Maxwell-Bloch equations. We also discuss the strategies for getting high storage and retrieval efficiency in the ATS memory in terms of only two phenomenological parameters, both of which are experimentally accessible. We have shown that a near-unity efficiency is achievable for a wideband signal, under moderate values of atomic density and laser powers; this significantly relaxes the technical requirements of our protocol when compared to other broadband storage schemes.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2018
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
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