Gases of Confined Atoms at Ultralow Temperatures: Observing Quantum Mechanics on a Macroscopic Scale

Georgios Kavoulakis

Abstract: The remarkable progress on atom trapping and cooling of the past decades has allowed experimentalists to create gases of confined atoms at such low temperatures that their quantum nature shows up. Under such conditions, quantum mechanical (i.e., microscopic and often counter-intuitive) effects show up on a macroscopic scale, giving rise to fascinating phenomena, including coherence, quantum phase transitions, superfluidity, quantized vortex states, non-linear solitary waves, collective effects, etc. Remarkably, these systems can be manipulated in many different ways allowing us to perform experiments which we have not been able to do in other physical systems.

In this talk I will give a brief and general overview of some of the most important experiments on this field. Also, I will explain how these observations can be understood based upon some rather basic physics.