Atom Optics


Principal Investigator

Craig Savage

Department of Physics and Theoretical Physics

Faculty of Science


u57, r62 - VPP, PC

Our work in atom optics has continued in the three areas of: atom lasers, dilute gas Bose-Einstein Condensates, and atom diffraction. The first two areas are fundamental theoretical work, while the second is in direct support of experimental work.  



What are the results to date and the future of this work?

We are developing the theory of atom lasers. This theory is much more complex than that of optical lasers, and computational techniques are essential. The PC has been used to solve non-linear Schrödinger equations for the atom laser wavefunctions. This work has been submitted as the Ph.D. thesis of Glenn Moy.

We have made detailed computational studies of two-component Bose-Einstein Condensates. Our most interesting result to date is the discovery of a feasible method for generating quantum mechanical Schrödinger Cat states in these systems.

Our modelling of atom diffraction has proved very useful in understanding the experimental results. The next step is to develop schemes for incorporating the diffractive atom beamsplitter into an atom interferometer. This work, and that on the Bose-Einstein Condensates, will be submitted in March 1999 as the Ph.D. thesis of Dan Gordon.

What computational techniques are used?

All our codes are custom written. We have used a split-operator method to solve the non-linear Schrödinger equation. The Bose-Einstein Condensation work required functional minimisation and finding eigenvalues of large matrices.


G.M. Moy, J.J. Hope, C.M. Savage, Born and Markov approximations for atom lasers, Physical Review A 59, 667-675 (1999)

D. Gordon, C.M. Savage, Excitation spectrum and instability of a two-species Bose-Einstein condensate, Physical Review A 58, 1440-1444 (1998)

- Appendix A