Josephson Junction Arrays with Bose-Einstein Condensates

Science  03 Aug 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5531, pp. 843-846
DOI: 10.1126/science.1062612

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We report on the direct observation of an oscillating atomic current in a one-dimensional array of Josephson junctions realized with an atomic Bose-Einstein condensate. The array is created by a laser standing wave, with the condensates trapped in the valleys of the periodic potential and weakly coupled by the interwell barriers. The coherence of multiple tunneling between adjacent wells is continuously probed by atomic interference. The square of the small-amplitude oscillation frequency is proportional to the microscopic tunneling rate of each condensate through the barriers and provides a direct measurement of the Josephson critical current as a function of the intermediate barrier heights. Our superfluid array may allow investigation of phenomena so far inaccessible to superconducting Josephson junctions and lays a bridge between the condensate dynamics and the physics of discrete nonlinear media.

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