The Onset of Matter-Wave Amplification in a Superradiant Bose-Einstein Condensate

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Science  18 Apr 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5618, pp. 475-478
DOI: 10.1126/science.1083171

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The interaction of short and strong laser pulses with an atomic Bose-Einstein condensate is found to generate patterns of recoiling atoms that are different from those seen in previous light-scattering experiments. This phenomenon can only be explained by optical stimulation, showing that the previous description of superradiance as atomic stimulation is incomplete and that matter-wave amplification in Bose-Einstein condensates is suppressed at short times. Our experiments clarify the nature of bosonic stimulation in the four-wave mixing of light and atoms.

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