Resonant amplification of quantum fluctuations in a spinor gas
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Bose-Einstein condensates of atoms with non-zero spin are known to constitute an ideal system to investigate fundamental properties of magnetic superfluids. More recently it was realized that they also provide the fascinating opportunity to investigate the macroscopic amplification of quantum and classical fluctuations. This is strikingly manifested in a sample initially prepared in the m F = 0 state, where spin-changing collisions triggered by quantum fluctuations may lead to the creation of correlated pairs in m F = ±1. We show that the pair creation efficiency is strongly influenced by the interplay between the external trapping potential and the Zeeman effect. It thus reflects the confinement-induced magnetic field dependence of elementary spin excitations of the condensate. Remarkably, pair production in our experiments is therefore characterized by a multi-resonant dependence on the magnetic field. Pair creation at these resonances acts as strong parametric matter-wave amplifier. Depending on the resonance condition, this amplification can be extremely sensitive or insensitive to the presence of seed atoms. We show that pair creation at a resonance which is insensitive to the presence of seed atoms is triggered purely by quantum fluctuations and thus the system acts as a matter-wave amplifier for the vacuum state.
KeywordsSpin Dynamic Magnetic Field Dependence Quantum Fluctuation Pair Creation Spin Excitation
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