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Observation of Chaos-Assisted Tunneling Between Islands of Stability

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Science  13 Jul 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5528, pp. 274-278
DOI: 10.1126/science.1061569

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Abstract

We report the direct observation of quantum dynamical tunneling of atoms between separated momentum regions in phase space. We study how the tunneling oscillations are affected as a quantum symmetry is broken and as the initial atomic state is changed. We also provide evidence that the tunneling rate is greatly enhanced by the presence of chaos in the classical dynamics. This tunneling phenomenon represents a dramatic manifestation of underlying classical chaos in a quantum system.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: raizen{at}physics.utexas.edu

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