Dipolar interaction in ultra-cold atomic gases

Menotti, C.
Lewenstein, M.
Lahaye, T.
Pfau, T.
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Ultra-cold atomic systems provide a new setting where to investigate the role of long-range interactions. In this paper we will review the basics features of those physical systems, in particular focusing on the case of Chromium atoms. On the experimental side, we report on the observation of dipolar effects in the expansion dynamics of a Chromium Bose-Einstein condensate. By using a Feshbach resonance, the scattering length characterising the contact interaction can be strongly reduced, thus increasing the relative effect of the dipole-dipole interaction. Such experiments make Chromium atoms the strongest candidates at present for the achievement of the strong dipolar regime. On the theoretical side, we investigate the behaviour of ultra-cold dipolar systems in the presence of a periodic potential. We discuss how to realise this situation experimentally and we characterise the system in terms of its quantum phases and metastable states, discussing in detail the differences with respect to the case of zero-range interactions.
Comment: 30 pages, 17 figures, to be published in the Proceedings of the Workshop "Dynamics and Thermodynamics of Systems with Long Range Interactions" (Assisi, July 2007), AIP Conference Proceedings
Condensed Matter - Other Condensed Matter