Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Germano S. Iannacchione, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

David Cyganski, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Alex A. Zozulya, Advisor




Atom interferometers and gyroscopes are highly sensitive atom-optical devices which are capable to measure inertial, gravitational, electric, and magnetic fields and to sense rotations. Theoretically, the signal-to-noise ratio of atomic gyroscopes is about a hundred billion times more than that of their optical counterparts for the same particle flux and the enclosed area. Ultra cold atoms from a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) can easily be controlled and coherently manipulated on small chips by laser pulses. Atom-optical devices will therefore play a significant role in fundamental research, precision measurements, and navigation systems. In BEC-based atom interferometers, a BEC in a trap is split by using laser pulses, the split clouds are allowed to evolve, they are reflected, and then recombined by laser pulses to observe interference. The split clouds accumulate spatial phase because of the trap and the nonlinearity caused by atom-atom interactions. A velocity mismatch due to reflection laser pulses also introduces a phase gradient across each cloud. These factors contribute to spatial relative phase between the clouds at recombination, causing the loss of contrast of the interference fringes. The main objective of this dissertation is to study the dynamics of a split condensate in atom Michelson interferometers, investigate the effect of trap frequencies, nonlinearity, and the velocity mismatch on the contrast, and to obtain the best theoretical limit of performance in terms of the experimental parameters: trap frequencies, number of atoms, and the velocity imparted to the clouds by the splitting laser pulses.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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Atom interferometry, Bose-Einstein condensate, Free oscillation atom Michelson interferometer, Single refelction atom Michelson interferometer, Double reflection atom Michelson interferometer