Research Article

Observation of Interference Between Two Bose Condensates

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Science  31 Jan 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5300, pp. 637-641
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5300.637

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Abstract

Interference between two freely expanding Bose-Einstein condensates has been observed. Two condensates separated by ∼40 micrometers were created by evaporatively cooling sodium atoms in a double-well potential formed by magnetic and optical forces. High-contrast matter-wave interference fringes with a period of ∼15 micrometers were observed after switching off the potential and letting the condensates expand for 40 milliseconds and overlap. This demonstrates that Bose condensed atoms are “laser-like”; that is, they are coherent and show long-range correlations. These results have direct implications for the atom laser and the Josephson effect for atoms.

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