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Optical Confinement of Quantum Gases using spatial light modulators

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Spatial light modulators (SLMs) are a versatile tool to create optical potentials for cold atoms. Examples include liquid crystal devices with a matrix of pixels each of which can be programmed to induce a given retardation in an incoming laser beam. The result is a generalized phase grating that is able to produce an arbitrary light pattern, i.e. a computer generated hologram. This pattern can be varied in time, generating a dynamic optical potential for atoms. In this talk I will present recent results on dynamic trapping of a Rb-87 condensate with an SLM . For instance the condensate can be split into two parts by loading it into a double-well potential and the two components can subsequently be transported over distances of the order of 50 microns. This result is promising for the realisation of an interferometer with trapped atoms and for quantum information processing. Possible future experiments could be on degenerate Fermi gases in deformable optical lattices.

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