Direct Observation of Zitterbewegung in a Bose Einstein Condensate
MARYLAND UNIV COLLEGE PARK
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Zitterbewegung, a force-free trembling motion first predicted for relativistic fermions like electrons, was an unexpected consequence of the Dirac equations unification of quantum mechanics and special relativity. Though the oscillatory motions large frequency and small amplitude have precluded its measurement with electrons, zitterbewegung is observable via quantum simulation. We engineered an environment for 87Rb Bose Einstein condensates where the constituent atoms behaved like relativistic particles subject to the one-dimensional Dirac equation. With direct imaging, we observed the sub-micrometre trembling motion of these clouds, demonstrating the utility of neutral ultracold quantum gases for simulating Dirac particles.
- Nuclear Physics and Elementary Particle Physics
- Quantum Theory and Relativity