Schedule May 11, 2004
All-optical BEC investigations of spinor Rb condensates
Michael Chapman (Georgia Institute of Technology)

All-optical approaches to BEC offer considerable flexibility and speed compared to magnetic trap approaches. We demonstrate this versatility by creating condensates in several CO_2 laser trapping configurations including a cross trap, 1-D standing wave and a single focus trap. Using these techniques, we measure spin dynamics and mixing in Rb-87 condensates in both the F = 1 and F = 2 spin manifolds. We determine the spin mixing time to be typically less than 600 ms and observe spin population oscillations. The equilibrium spin configuration in the F  = 1 manifold is measured for different magnetic fields and found to show ferromagnetic behavior for low field gradients.  F = 2 condensates are created by microwave excitation from the F = 1 manifold, and they are observed to decay exponentially with time constant 250 ms. Despite the short lifetime in the F = 2 manifold, spin mixing of the condensate is observed within 50 ms.

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