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Collisions ionisantes : un nouveau diagnostic pour les condensats de Bose-Einstein d'hélium métastable

Olivier Sirjean 1
1 laboratoire Charles Fabry de l'Institut d'Optique / Optique atomique
LCFIO - Laboratoire Charles Fabry de l'Institut d'Optique
Abstract : At this writing, metastable helium (23S1) is the only example of Bose-Einstein condensation of an atom in an excited electronic state. The corresponding internal energy permits efficient and fast electronic detection of the atoms using a micro-channel plate detector (MCP). Moreover, this energy is responsible for ionizing collisions inside the magnetically trapped cloud (Penning ionization). These ions are also easily detected by the MCP. This thesis begins by describing the characteristics of the MCP detector. Next, the experimental procedure to achieve Bose-Einstein condensation is presented. These preliminaries are followed by a description of the experiments performed in order to determine the origin of the ions produced and by a presentation of some of the new experimental possibilities provided by the ion signal. For clouds with a low enough density, ions are mainly produced by collisions with the residual gas, and the signal is proportional to the number of trapped atoms. For clouds with a sufficiently high density, for example close to the condensation threshold, ions are mainly produced by 2- and 3-body collisions. In this case, the ion signal is also related to the density of the cloud. Depending on the density, the signal gives a real-time and "non-destructive" measurement of these different characteristics. In particular, we have shown it is a valuable indicator of the onset of condensation, because it signals the sudden increase of density which then occurs. By studying the ion rate versus the density and the number of atoms for pure condensates and for thermal clouds at critical temperature, we have measured the collision rate constants for these ionizing processes. Our results are in agreement with theoretical predictions.
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Submitted on : Friday, July 4, 2003 - 7:08:26 PM
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  • HAL Id : tel-00003088, version 1

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Olivier Sirjean. Collisions ionisantes : un nouveau diagnostic pour les condensats de Bose-Einstein d'hélium métastable. Physique Atomique [physics.atom-ph]. Université Paris Sud - Paris XI, 2003. Français. ⟨tel-00003088⟩

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