Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Konstantin A. Lurie, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Padmanabhan K. Aravind, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Alex A. Zozulya, Advisor




An atom interferometer is a sensitive device that has potential for many useful applications. Atoms are sensitive to electromagnetic fields due to their electric and magnetic moments and their mass allows them to be deflected in a gravitational field, thereby making them attractive for measuring inertial forces. The narrow momentum distribution of Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) is a great asset in realizing portable atom interferometers. An example is a guided-wave atom interferometer that uses a confining potential to guide the motion of the condensate. Despite the promise of guided-wave atom interferometry with BEC, spatial phase and phase diffusion limit the contrast of the interference fringes. The control of these phases is required for successful development of a BEC-based guided-wave atom interferometer. This thesis analyses the guided-wave atom interferometer, where an atomic BEC cloud at the center of a confining potential is split into two clouds that move along different arms of the interferometer. The clouds accumulate relative phase due to the environment, spatially inhomogeneous trapping potential and atom-atom interactions within the condensate. At the end of the interferometric cycle, the clouds are recombined producing a cloud at rest and moving clouds. The number of atoms in the clouds that emerge depends on the relative phase accumulated by the clouds during propagation. This is investigated by deriving an expression for the probability of finding any given number of atoms in the clouds that emerge after recombination. Characteristic features like mean, standard deviation and cross-correlation function of the probability density distribution are calculated and the contrast of the interference fringes is optimized. This thesis found that optimum contrast is achieved through the control of total population of atoms in the condensate, trap frequencies, s-wave scattering length, and the duration of the interferometric cycle.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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Bose-Einstein Condensate, Matter Waves, Atom Interferometry