by A. Frisch, M. Mark, K. Aikawa, F. Ferlaino, J. L. Bohn, C. Makrides, A. Petrov, S. Kotochigova

Abstract:

Atomic and molecular samples reduced to temperatures below 1 microkelvin, yet still in the gas phase, afford unprecedented energy resolution in probing and manipulating how their constituent particles interact with one another. For simple atoms, such as alkalis, scattering resonances are extremely well-characterized. However, ultracold physics is now poised to enter a new regime, where far more complex species can be cooled and studied, including magnetic lanthanide atoms and even molecules. For molecules, it has been speculated that a dense forest of resonances in ultracold collision cross sections will likely express essentially random fluctuations, much as the observed energy spectra of nuclear scattering do. According to the Bohigas-Giannoni-Schmit conjecture, these fluctuations would imply chaotic dynamics of the underlying classical motion driving the collision. This would provide a paradigm shift in ultracold atomic and molecular physics, necessitating new ways of looking at the fundamental interactions of atoms in this regime, as well as perhaps new chaos-driven states of ultracold matter. In this report we provide the first experimental demonstration that random spectra are indeed found at ultralow temperatures. In the experiment, an ultracold gas of erbium atoms is shown to exhibit many Fano-Feshbach resonances, for bosons on the order of 3 per gauss. Analysis of their statistics verifies that their distribution of nearest-neighbor spacings is what one would expect from random matrix theory. The density and statistics of these resonances are explained by fully-quantum mechanical scattering calculations that locate their origin in the anisotropy of the atoms’ potential energy surface. Our results therefore reveal for the first time chaotic behavior in the native interaction between ultracold atoms.

Reference:

Quantum chaos in ultracold collisions of gas-phase erbium atoms,

A. Frisch, M. Mark, K. Aikawa, F. Ferlaino, J. L. Bohn, C. Makrides, A. Petrov, S. Kotochigova,

Nature, 507, 475-479, 2014.

A. Frisch, M. Mark, K. Aikawa, F. Ferlaino, J. L. Bohn, C. Makrides, A. Petrov, S. Kotochigova,

Nature, 507, 475-479, 2014.

Bibtex Entry:

@article{Nature.507.475, title = {Quantum chaos in ultracold collisions of gas-phase erbium atoms}, author = {Frisch, A. and Mark, M. and Aikawa, K. and Ferlaino, F. and Bohn, J. L. and Makrides, C. and Petrov, A. and Kotochigova, S.}, journal = {Nature}, volume = {507}, issue = {1}, pages = {475-479}, numpages = {5}, year = {2014}, month = {Mar}, abstract = {Atomic and molecular samples reduced to temperatures below 1 microkelvin, yet still in the gas phase, afford unprecedented energy resolution in probing and manipulating how their constituent particles interact with one another. For simple atoms, such as alkalis, scattering resonances are extremely well-characterized. However, ultracold physics is now poised to enter a new regime, where far more complex species can be cooled and studied, including magnetic lanthanide atoms and even molecules. For molecules, it has been speculated that a dense forest of resonances in ultracold collision cross sections will likely express essentially random fluctuations, much as the observed energy spectra of nuclear scattering do. According to the Bohigas-Giannoni-Schmit conjecture, these fluctuations would imply chaotic dynamics of the underlying classical motion driving the collision. This would provide a paradigm shift in ultracold atomic and molecular physics, necessitating new ways of looking at the fundamental interactions of atoms in this regime, as well as perhaps new chaos-driven states of ultracold matter. In this report we provide the first experimental demonstration that random spectra are indeed found at ultralow temperatures. In the experiment, an ultracold gas of erbium atoms is shown to exhibit many Fano-Feshbach resonances, for bosons on the order of 3 per gauss. Analysis of their statistics verifies that their distribution of nearest-neighbor spacings is what one would expect from random matrix theory. The density and statistics of these resonances are explained by fully-quantum mechanical scattering calculations that locate their origin in the anisotropy of the atoms' potential energy surface. Our results therefore reveal for the first time chaotic behavior in the native interaction between ultracold atoms.}, publisher = {Nature Publishing Group}, doi = {10.1038/nature13137}, url = {http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v507/n7493/full/nature13137.html}, arXiv = {http://arxiv.org/abs/1312.1972} }