School of Physical and Chemical Sciences, Te Kura Matū Seminar Series

Scattering physics with ultracold atoms


Dr Amita Deb, Research Fellow with Dr Niels Kjaergaard,


Department of Physics, University of Otago

Time & Place

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 11:00:00 NZDT in Room 531, Level 5 West Building, (formerly known as Rutherford)

All are welcome


Scattering of unbound, continuum states to probe localized, bound systems is a ubiquitous technique in experimental physics. The quantum theory of scattering describes the scattering of matter and light in the same general framework. In this seminar, I will describe experiments with ultracold atoms and light in three different scenarios – (i) one where atoms scatter off each other, (ii) one where photons scatter off atoms and (iii) where photons scatter off photons.


At the Otago ultracold atom lab, we routinely create arrays of degenerate bosonic and fermionic atomic samples with exquisite control over their spatial, momentum and spin degrees of freedom. We have implemented an optical collider for atoms, where laser beams accelerate atomic samples and smash them onto each other at precisely defined energies. I will report on our recent experiments on resonant atom-atom scattering in this setup.


Scattering of light off quantum-degenerate atoms exhibit correlations due to dipole-dipole and quantum statistical effects. I will discuss an experiment where we observed the three-decade old prediction of Pauli blocking of light scattering from degenerate fermions.


I will finally discuss our preliminary experiments in a newly initiated research avenue where we study ultracold Rydberg atoms. In such a system, photons can interact with each other extremely strongly - highly prospective for nonlinear quantum optics at the single photon level.