Atomic & Molecular Physics Laboratory, RSPE, ANU
A metastable helium (He*) Bose Einstein condensate (BEC) is somewhat unique in the field of degenerate gases in that its constituent atoms are not in their true electronic groundstate. In fact, they exist in a long lived state (~8000s) with an internal energy of 20 ev (approximately twelve orders of magnitude more energy than their kinetic energy). As such He* atoms can be directly detected using electronic detectors, making single atom detection possible.
It is the single atom capabilities of a He* BEC that make true quantum atom optics experiments possible. In this talk, I will outline some of the correlation experiments that we have performed and then move on to discussing possible experiments relating to quantum equilibrium, correlations in lower dimensions and tests of quantum mechanics.