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Critical behaviour of Bose gases with tuneable interactions in uniform box traps

Project description

Gaining new insight into the physics of ultracold bosons

Atomic gases cooled down to ultralow temperatures of a few nanokelvin above absolute zero offer an outstanding platform for investigating quantum phenomena in many-body systems. The ability to control the interactions between ultracold atomic gases coupled with techniques such as optical box traps allows scientists to study a range of multi-body physics phenomena in controlled conditions. The EU-funded project CriticalBoseBox will create a Bose–Einstein condensate (ultracold bosons) in an optical box trap to experimentally study the critical behaviour of such a gas near its condensation temperature. Project results will put Europe at the forefront of atomic physics and quantum optics research.


Studies of homogeneous quantum gases, trapped in uniform optical-box potentials, bridge the fields of ultracold atoms and condensed matter physics. Being versatile and well-isolated systems, ultracold atoms offer an outstanding platform for engineering quantum many-body systems. Due to the variety of high precision measurement techniques from atomic physics, they can be used as analogue quantum simulators for addressing open questions in the physics of strongly correlated systems.

This proposal suggests using ultracold bosons with tuneable interactions and trapped in uniform box potentials to experimentally study the critical behaviour of a Bose gas near its condensation temperature Tc. The project focuses on problems in beyond-mean-field physics that cannot be effectively tackled using the traditionally studied harmonically trapped gas. One key objective is the first measurement of the long-debated non-perturbative Tc shift due to interactions, which is a sensitive probe of the critical behaviour happening on all length scales. In addition, the project addresses critical scalings near Tc, which will be investigated through equilibrium and non-equilibrium measurements. In particular, experimental access to the critical slowing down of equilibration near Tc should allow a direct measurement of the dynamical critical exponent z, which is not possible with liquid helium. The proposed experiments will cover the full range of interaction strengths from non-interacting atoms to the largely unexplored unitary regime, where the interactions are as strong as allowed by quantum mechanics. This will also allow a study of the effect of the interaction strength on the size of the critical region and on the robustness of the universal critical behaviour.

This proposal stands at the forefront of the field of quantum simulation and its results should have an impact beyond the atomic physics and quantum optics communities, strongly reinforcing European excellence in physics.


Net EU contribution
€ 212 933,76
CB2 1TN Cambridge
United Kingdom

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East of England East Anglia Cambridgeshire CC
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 212 933,76