Bosonic Stimulation in the Formation of a Bose-Einstein Condensate

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Science  13 Feb 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5353, pp. 1005-1007
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5353.1005

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The formation of a Bose-Einstein condensate of a dilute atomic gas has been studied in situ with a nondestructive, time-resolved imaging technique. Sodium atoms were evaporatively cooled close to the onset of Bose-Einstein condensation and then suddenly quenched to below the transition temperature. The subsequent equilibration and condensate formation showed a slow onset distinctly different from simple relaxation. This behavior provided evidence for the process of bosonic stimulation, or coherent matter-wave amplification, crucial to the concept of an atom laser.

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