In 1925, based on work by Satyendra Nath Bose, Albert Einstein proposed that if one could make a collection of atoms cold enough, they would condense into a single quantum state making each atom identical to its neighbours in a similar way to photons in a laser beam. It wasn't until seventy years later that scientists were able to actually create the world's first Bose Einstein-Condensate (BEC) in the laboratory.
Atom optics involves regarding atoms and atomic beams as matter waves. In analogy with light waves we want to construct optical elements for atoms, such as lenses, mirrors, beamsplitters and optical fibers. For coherence, spontaneous emission as is used in laser cooling has to be avoided, as it introduces the random phase of the spontaneously emitted photon.
Deputy Director (Research)